MUSCAT: Muscat Rugby Football Club (MRFC) commenced their 2018-19 league season with a dominant performance during the weekend in Manana, Bahrain when they convincingly beat Saudi Select 17-38. The GreenMachine grabbed the valuable bonus point win to start the campaign on maximum points.
Despite losing first choice scrum half Ben Cullum minutes before the kick off to an injury and having six players making their Muscat debuts the confidence of the team remained strong as Oliver Jones moved up from the bench to take Backs coach Ben Cullum’s place at scrumhalf. Jones was to have a relatively easy day at 9 as the Muscat forwards dominated their Saudi counterparts in almost every department. However it was the performance in the Muscat Lineout that was most impressive, Lineout coach Joseph Thompson who started in second row certainly had his forwards well drilled as they dominated lineout after lineout and even stole several of Saudi’s throughout the game five of the six tries scored came from well worked lineouts which is a testament to the hard work put into the lineout over the pre-season period.
In the first half Saudi Select rarely even gained access to the Muscat half, they registered the first points of the game with a 40 yard penalty however weren’t to venture back into the Muscat half until well into the second half. Muscat continued to patiently build their play and scored 3 tries inside the first half with Muscat’s backrow of Phil Braban, Cobus Stander and Julien Mullineux all taking a try a piece. Muscat headed into half time 3-17 up.
The second half didn’t see any changes however injury forced Julien Mullineux off within 10 minutes of the restart, the strength of the Muscat bench showed as Zac Harper entered and his powerful running lines allowed Muscat to continue as they had done in the first half and gain valuable yards on every play. Deservedly so for all his hard work in the lineout it was Joseph Thompson who scored the crucial bonus point try, a great individual try as he dodged three or four of the Saudi defence to run in unopposed under the posts. The second half also saw the Muscat backs join in try scoring as debutant Dan Worth crossed the whitewash soon after for his first Muscat try. Muscat’s Omani Full Back Salah Al Busaidi duly converted the try, a decent day from the boot for Salah as he kicked 4/6 conversions.
As the changes were being made by both sides, Saudi eventually got their time in the Muscat half and came away with their first try. But Muscat were soon to remind them who were the better team as within 26 seconds of the kick off after a superb take from Muscat’s prop Rhbeen Ahmed the ball was spread wide and some great running lines from Clement Montazeau allowed Dillan Karelse to take the offload in space and canter over the line for the 6th and final Muscat try. Credit to Saudi as they brushed themselves off and fought their way back over the Muscat try line one more time , it was to be the last play of the game however and with a well taken conversion the score finished 17-38 to Muscat. Star performers for Muscat were, Cobus Stander, Dan Worth, Zac Harper and Captain Karl Rasmussen.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from each and every one of the 23 players today. It’s the score we wanted so the coaching team are extremely happy, the manner in which we obtained the score is more pleasing though as our structure and set pieces were exactly what we had trained, I think the players also felt like it was a polished performance and they will take great strength from that going into the Doha game on the November 16” said, Luke O’Mahony Muscat Rugby Head Coach.
The GreenMachine regroup and are back in action for a friendly against a British Navy side.