India and Guam still in hunt for RWC 2015

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 30 May 2012
India and Guam still in hunt for RWC 2015
Steve Sablan scored the first of Guam's six tries in their victory against Indonesia

India and Guam still have hopes of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2015 following victories against Indonesia and Pakistan during their semi final matches in Division III of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations.

The two sides now meet in the final on June 1, with the winner progressing to meet the champions from Division II in a play-off to determine who will join Division 1 in 2013, still with a chance to qualify for RWC 2015 in England.

Played at the Stadium Kelana Jaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the matches this week are doubling up as the latest stages in the Asian qualification process but the results now see the dream end for Indonesia and Pakistan.


A classic sporting rivalry between India and Pakistan was the highlight of the action, and although an Indian victory never looked in doubt after four first half tries, Pakistan managed their first try against their neighbours through Ahmed Fiaz, and blooded 11 new players under new coach Justin Fitzpatrick.

"Pakistan versus India, reminds me a bit of the rivalry between Ireland and England," said former Ireland international Fitzpatrick.

"There is a lot of personal pride involved for the players from both teams. India were promoted two years ago and are an older and more established rugby nation so they are really the form side in this rivalry."

Having been relegated from Division II last year, India's 34-5 victory puts them one win away from an immediate return, and they face Guam in Friday's final following their 38-17 victory against Indonesia in the day's opening match.

Steve Sablan scored the first of six tries for Guam before Paul Eustaglio scored a hat-trick to send his side through to a second successive Division III final.

“They [Indonesia] are much improved," said Guam coach Willie Hetaraka.

"We skipped out to a 19-3 lead in the first half but I was impressed with the way they came back. We were pretty worried at one point.

"In the second half we decided to bring it in a bit tighter and use our forwards and set piece a bit more, which worked as we held them off. But to be honest, the score doesn’t really reflect how close this match was.”

Indonesia scrum half Kirk Arundale scored 12 points and took his HSBC A5N career points tally past 100.

The Division II semi finals take place on Wednesday, 31 May, as Thaliand face Iran and hosts and top seeds  Malaysia play China.