Friday, May 1, 2009

Curtains fall on the JWRT 2009

The IRB's Junior World Rugby Trophy draws to a close when the unbeaten Romania face the USA in the championship match at 3.30pm (1230GMT) on Sunday at Nairobi's RFUEA Grounds.

The Romanians have been ruthlessly efficient in disposing of their opponents en route to the final. Even as they played Chile in their Pool B decider on Wednesday, they knew when to pile the pressure and were rewarded with a 26-20 win that their captain Eduard Marinca described as "their toughest match at the JWRT yet."

Marinca refused to speculate on his team's tactics ahead of their clash against the USA, saying their approach was top secret. Spectators should nonetheless expect a bruising clash between two sides that on paper appear evenly match.

The Junior Eagles of the USA have on the other hand given their fans some anxious moments. Leading 32-14 against home side Kenya with 14 minutes left to play, they dramatically collapsed, going down 32-33. They seemed to be heading out of the JWRT when they trailed Namibia 15-17 with 20 minutes of play left but they overhauled the Africans, scoring that much needed bonus point as they claimed a close29-24 win that landed them the final berth.

Captain Robert Johnson acknowledges the tough task ahead but believes his side's experiences at the 2009 JWRT have given them that extra edge required to stop Romania.

In fly half Tai Enosa and winger Zach Test who have received call ups to the senior US side, the Junior Eagles have players who can turn the game in their favour and indeed the match between the tenacious US Junior Eagles and the well oiled Romanian rugby machine makes for one interesting final.

In other fixtures on Sunday, home side Chipu play Chile at the RFUEA from 1.30pm (1100 GMT) in the third place playoff. Chipu have done Kenya proud, missing out on the JWRT final by a single point and they should definitely take the game to Chile as they seek to end the tournament on a high. Chile have been equally impressive in Nairobi, only missing out on the final after that nerve wracking 20-26 loss to Romania.

Namiba play Papua New Guinea in the fifth place playoff at the Impala Grounds while South Korea play Cayman Islands at the RFUEA. Both matches kick off at 11.00am (0800 GMT)

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend,experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

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