RUGBY: Malta gains a thrilling win over Israel

MALTA            15

ISRAEL             13

The Malta rugby national team put in a valiant display to fend off the more-quoted Israeli team in a thrilling encounter at the Tony Bezzina Stadium over th past weekend. the Maltese side a hard-fought victory in a match that saw them battling valiantly to fend off the physical challenge of the Israeli side.

The match had different facets with the Israeli dominating play for much of the opening half-hour. It looked tough for the home side at the start as Israel seized the initiative right from the outset. They piled up the pressure on the Malta defence with wave after wave of attacks from their forwards with the home side fighting hard to keep their opponents at bay.

The pressure from the visitors was continuous but the Maltese were somewhat managing to keep them out. The match looked to be heading out of Malta’s reach when Israel took a 13-8 lead early in the second half. The Malta team though refused to lie down and soaked up the pressure as they turned the match’s momentum to cause more damage to the Israeli opponents.

After the break, the match was evenly balanced with both sides trying to seize the initiative. Israel missed a chance to regain the lead eight minutes after restart. But somehow, the Maltese national team’s never-say-die attitude again came to the fore to to strike late and preserve their lead to claim a famous victory and their second successive win in the competition.

MALTA:

R. Apsee, P. Martin, D. Cerketa, M. Barbara, D. Deguara, B. Borg, D. Apsee, M. Davey 5, T. Holloway, R. Holloway, B. Dalton, D. Busuttil, C. Dudman 5, J. Debattista, R. Gum 5.

Subs used: L. Matthew, T. Davey, T. Galdes, M. Spiteri.

ISRAEL:

Y. Harris, T. Bracha, N. Reizel, T. Burden, Y. Shulman, Y. Engel, U. Majavidze, U. Gail 3, O. Levinson, M. Gordon 5, A. Rainstein 5, M. Eli, I. Eisenberg, G. Aviram, V. Pryimak.

Subs used: E. Humphreys, M. Eli, D. Stein.

Referee Pedro Mendez (Portugal).