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MATCH REPORT – WEST ASIA CUP FINAL – BAHRAIN ARE CROWNED 2018 CHAMPIONS!

What a day for BRFC – they have done it and won the cup they so desperately wanted. The biggest ever crowd in the West Asia Cup came out to watch a brilliant game of rugby and what was a fantastic advert for West Asia Rugby with over 11,000 views of the game live online.

The club asked for a Redwall of support in the week build up and they got that and more, the supporters here are so special and it means the world to this team.

A great game of rugby it was with free flowing skills and running and a masterpiece in kicking from the Bahrain team. The energy and desire from the players was evident from the first whistle and you could sense early that this team were not going to lose their 2nd cup final. The final score of 47-25 does not reflect the game at all and Exiles really came to the party not just to make up the numbers.

Bahrain took an early lead with 2 great tries from the forward powerhouses, Elliot Behan and Mani Tupou. A barrage of pressure on the Exiles line gave Bahrain an early 14-3 lead. Further penalties from two very impressive fly halves Ross Preedy and Durandt Gerber kept both scores ticking over. Exiles kept themselves in the game throughout the first half with strong breaks from their big impressive forwards and Bahrain couldn’t quite break away. The half time score was Bahrain 20 Exiles 13.

Half time talks are often hazy and frantic but there was an air of calm around the Bahrain players at half time – they felt they had what it takes to win the game they just had to keep doing their jobs. The Bahrain bench was certainly the better of the two teams and everyone felt this would play a big part in the game and inevitably the outcome.

No sign of tiring the Bahrain side piled the pressure on the Exiles for the remaining 40 minutes – Exiles brought the game right back to 26-25 with 20 minutes to go through great efforts from their 2 try hooker – Fourie. Substitutions of Sanson, Burnell, Morete and Booth came on around the 60 minute mark and the intensity grew from the Bahrain side – the energy lifted and gave Bahrain that final push to score some amazing tries. A try by prize bull Mani Tupou summed up the day with celebrations from the sponsors bar as joyous as ever witnessed!

Special mentions go to outside half and man of the match Ross Preedy on a perfect kicking performance kicking 19 points on only his second start of the whole season. Also a mention to Bahrain stalwart Rich Wilkinson on a stellar performance bringing his impressive playing career to an end, Rich has played in this 1st team for over ten years and has been a brilliant leader and a huge part of the resurgence of Bahrain Rugby.

This really was a special day for Bahrain Rugby – to win the West Asia Cup is a huge achievement and with this season being the most competitive in its history it really does show how far Bahrain have come. With any one of 4 teams being able to win the cup it was an exciting ending. With 14 players in the matchday squad this year playing in the 2017 final and falling agonisingly short it was special for these players to win the 2018 final. It was also a special day due to the event – the club did a brilliant job on putting on a real showpiece event and one that will be a marker for years to come – the game on facebook live amassed an amazing audience from around the world exceeding 11,000 views! The live support came out in their hundreds wearing red and were brilliantly vocal for 80 minutes and enjoyed the post match celebrations as much as the players themselves – this achievement has brought a huge amount of pride to everyone associated with BRFC and something they can hang their hat on for years to come.

#REDWALL

Check out our Facebook Page Bahrain Rugby Football Club for some incredible pictures of the game and celebrations!

Photo Credit: Jodie Baker Photography

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