BEIRUT: The Saints came out deserved winners of Round Three of the Lebanese University Students 7’s tournament Lebanese University Hadath Campus on 22nd April.
Although only 4 teams participated in this Round – Saints (Students from USJ), Barbarians (students from LAU), Panthers (Students from ALBA), Sharks (Students from NDU) - due to a last minute pullout by the Tigers ( students from AUST) and the Rebels (students from AUB) and the fact that teams were without some key players who are in the national team going to Dubai for the A5N tournament this week , it did not take anything away from the playing quality, enthusiasm and determination of the teams.
As with the last two rounds, the player’s progress continued to move forward, with some good levels of phase play, better technical ability and control around the tackle area. As always the games were played with passion and no quarter was given with some aggressive tackling taking place.
The first two games were closely contested with the Panthers coming out on top against the Sharks 28 - 24 and the Saints - Leaders of the tournament so far- just beating the Barbarians - the expected favourites of this tournament - 24 - 17.
The second phase of games, saw the two winning sides, Saints and Panthers take to the field against each other. This very competitive game saw the score move both ways before the Saints took the lead and keep it in the last quarter finishing at 19 – 10. The second of these games saw a rejuvenated Barbarians side take a convincing win against a very trying Sharks side. The power of the Barbarians and some strong running saw them win 40 – 5.
The final two games meant that 3 teams - Saints, Barbarians and Panthers - still had a chance of taking 1st place. The first of these games was between the Panthers and the Barbarians, a very physical and close game with some very committed tackling saw the game go to the final whistle with the Barbarians coming out on top 14 – 12. The final game was between the Saints and the Sharks. The Saints quickly got into their stride and played hard fast rugby 7s. The Sharks who are the newest in terms of Rugby in the tournament played with heart and commitment, unfortunately this was not enough to keep out a much improved Saints team who took the win 38 – 0.
The final placements for this round were: 1 – Saints, 2 – Barbarians, 3 – Panthers, 4 – Sharks – with this result the teams go into the next Round as follows-
1 – Saints, 2 – Barbarians, 3 – Panthers, 4 – Sharks, 5-Tigers, 6- The Rebels.
The tournament was as ever very competitive and many of the players who are in the squad for the World University 7’s in France in July put their markers down for final selection.
The last two rounds of the Tournament will be on Sun 13th May and Sun 3rd June. It is hoped that the Final two rounds will have all 6 sides competing.
The player of this Round was awarded by the national coach Steve Wrigglesworth to Ahmad Fadlalla of the Barbarians and an LAU student.