By Sports Reporter/Doha
The Qatar Rugby Federation officials and team captains and coaches met at the Qatar Olympic Committee headquarters yesterday to review the Qatar Rugby Sevens season so far.
Among those present on the occasion were QRF general secretary Ali al-Malki, QRF senior co-ordinator Samuel Rico, and Camels 1 captain Illese Rakabu, Camels 2 captain Tala Mujalli, Blue Falcons captain Jean Barat, DRFC Hurricanes acting captain Tim Newnham, Al Khor Rugby Club coach Andy Napier, College of North Atlantic-Qatar captain Syed Asad Ali and Lions RFC captain Moses Dorairajah.
With 23 matches played by seven teams in the league already, Camels 1 side have stayed unbeaten and lead the standings with 40 points, while Camels 2 are second with 26 points.
Camels 1 have managed to hang on to the ball the most during their matches, a key factor in the shorter format of the game, and hence have been very effective in scoring the most tries.
It also helps that the team, being built as the federation’s flagship team in the sevens competition, have a few Fijian players and some of the best players from the other clubs, with Aaron McLelland and Greg Evans of Doha Rugby Football Centre (DRFC) as cases in point, in their ranks.
“We know we are top of the table and that boils down to us playing like a team, training together, and that’s very important because all our players are from different countries. Our idea is to put in our best efforts, help each other, and review our games, we learn from our weaknesses… some of them have started playing with us just this year but we are happy with how everyone’s helping each other and playing,” Camels 1 captain Rakabu said yesterday.
At the other end of the spectrum are the French Blue Falcons, who have only managed to win twice in their nine games. With limited number of players to choose from, the Falcons captain Barat said playing in the domestic sevens championship is a good opportunity for his players.
“We have a team playing 15s rugby already and now the sevens team. That translates into around 50 French players participating in the sport which is a great thing for us. We enjoy playing rugby in Qatar. The federation has been very supportive. And we are representing the French people in this sport, which is a great thing for us,” Barat said.
DRFC Hurricanes, who are third in the standings with 22 points, have just come off a see-saw match day, losing to Camels 1 0-70, while posting a commanding 46-7 win over the Camels 2 side.
“I think it was an unexpected win over Camels 2 because we played Camels 1 first and it didn’t exactly go according to plan. But we had been working hard the past few weeks, we had drawn with Camels 2 in our first game. Not to take anything away from their performances, I think everything just went our way that day,” Hurricanes acting captain Newnham said. “We hope to have similar performances in the coming matches.”
Most team officials, however, said that while they are faced with a limited pool of players to pick from, they are working towards increasing that pool in order to better compete in the tournament. Meanwhile, QRF general secretary al-Malki said that besides the Asian Rugby Championship, which will be held in April between the international teams from Qatar, Iran and Lebanon, the federation will also be conducting a training course for referees.
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