India’s late comeback not enough to beat Qatar in the 3rd place play-off

Asia Rugby Men's Division 1 Championship 2024

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Asia Rugby Men's Division 1 Championship 2024

The 3rd place play-off of the Asia Rugby Men’s Division 1 Championship 2024 took place at the Racecourse stadium and Qatar managed to walk away with the win after a close tussle where the final scoreline was 34-25.

Qatar drew first blood in the play-off fixture just two minutes into the game when Francis Hughes found space from the left of the field and he gave a perfectly timed pass to his half back James Phillips who found the whitewash. Brooke Tremayne converted the try (QTR 07 – 00 IND)

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India also began their account just two minutes later when Qatar conceded a penalty for holding on just outside their own 22m line. Indian skipper Deepak Punia went for the points and added the 3 himself (QTR 07 – 03 IND)

From the restart kick after the successful penalty from India, Qatar pushed India back deep into their half and the get out of jail kick by the Indian skipper was charged down by the Qatar forward Nicholas Lock who went over the try line to score their 2nd try of the game. Tremayne was once again successful with the conversion as the lead increased for them (QTR 14 – 03 IND)

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Just like in the last try from Qatar, once again just two minutes later India received a penalty, this time the infringement from Qatar was the tackler not releasing. Skipper Punia once again opted for the 3 points and he got the kick right to reduce the gap down to just 8 points (QTR 14 – 06 IND)

In the 12th minute mark India conceded a costly off-side penalty just 10 metres away from their own try line. Qatar decided to go with a scrum from the penalty and they did short work from the scrum as Pita Beracibi sold a lovely dummy to go underneath the posts. Tremayne kicked through an easy conversion to take the total over 20 (QTR 21 – 06 IND)

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Not even 5 minutes later, Qatar number 8 Elliot Johnston found the break from the middle of the field and the defence of India was focusing on the right side of the field. Tremayne who spotted this went for a cross kick pass to the left side of the field as Iliesa Rakabu collected it and went all the way for an easy try. The conversion didn’t go through but Qatar’s lead went up to 20 with the try. This was the last try of the first half as the 2nd phase of 20 minutes in the first half didn’t produce any points for the two sides (QTR 26 – 06 IND)

HALF TIME  :- Qatar 26 – 06 India

Throughout the first quarter of the 2nd half it looked quite evident that Qatar players were struggling to cope up with the sunny weather conditions. India however slowly came into their own and managed to create some opportunities but the handling errors cost them a couple of chances. In the 53rd minute Qatar conceded a penalty after a high shot inside their own 22m territory. Indian captain Punia decided to go for the kick into touch. From the line-out Indians managed to go over the line within just 2 phases as Pradeep Tanwar scored the first try for India. Punia added the two points to take the deficit down to 13 points (QTR 26 – 13 IND)

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The momentum India created after the try didn’t last long as they conceded a penalty inside their own half and when Qatar opted for the quick tap one of the Indian players decided to tackle from an offside position which was a cardinal error. Qatar decided to add the 3 points Tremayne kicked it through easily (QTR 29 – 13 IND)

India continued to show higher fitness levels as Qatar were in a spot of bother big time. Indians continued to make inroads deep into Qatar territory but their own mistakes played a huge part in them not scoring. But India once again made a huge mistake inside their own half knocking the ball forward. From the scrum Qatar recovered  the ball which was shot out from the Indian side Guillermo Villegas made the collection and gave the pass out to Philips who went all the way..The conversion didn’t go through but the lead was back to the 20s for Qatar (QTR 34 – 13 IND)

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Going into the last 8 minutes India finally started to show some urgency. Mohit Khatri produced a brilliant break from the middle of the field and gained some good metres. India also received a penalty after the run from Khatri. Although they didn’t score a try off the run from Khatri it kickstarted the chain of events for the 2nd try for them. Few phases later India managed to steal the ball inside Qatar’s 22m territory and a long cut out pass to the right corner of the field to Vallabh Patil finally brought them a 2nd try. The conversion was successful and the race against time was on for the Indians (QTR 34 – 20 IND)

Just after the restart kick, Qatar conceded an offside penalty and Punia with a good kick took his team to the Qatar half. After a good ball from the lineout they attacked from the middle of the field and then shifted the attack to the left of the field with some slick passing as Nareej went over the line. Punia missed the conversion and the referee also signalled for the end of the game (QTR 34 – 25 IND)

It was a brilliant comeback by India in the 2nd half but Qatar managed to hit them hard in the opening 20 minutes which ultimately was the difference between the two sides. India will take a lot of positives out of this tournament coming into next year while Qatar would want to go a step ahead come next year.

Full Time :- Qatar 34 (5T 3C 1P) beat India 25 (3T 2C 2P)