Rugby: Penguins win a bruiser

Rugby: Penguins win a bruiser
GRUDGE MATCH: There was little love lost between the Penguins (in white and black) and the France National development squad (in blue) at the Padang

It was the match that brought the curtain down on the pool stage of the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens Tournament (SCC 7s) on Saturday.

And it didn't disappoint as the British-based Penguins beat the France National development squad (Under-20s) 36-5 at the Padang on Saturday night.

With the two teams entering the Pool E match unbeaten, it was a no-holds-barred contest for top spot as both sides let loose with bone-crunching tackles in a frenzied 14 minutes of action.

In the end, experience won out over youth as the Penguins emerged triumphant after tries from hattrick hero Marcus Watson, Same Edgerley (two) and Dan Caprice.

Leo Ghirard scored the consolation try for the French, who gave as good as they got despite the lopsided nature of the scoreline.

The result meant that the Penguins, who are made up of players from England, New Zealand and Australia, remained unbeaten along with fellow pool winners Daveta, the Asia Pacific Dragons, the Borneo Eagles and Auckland.

The teams that finished among the top 16 will do battle for a spot in the quarter-finals as the quest for the Ablitt Cup reaches its climax today.

The eight sides who lose in the Round of 16 will compete in the Plate competition, while the four teams that finished bottom on Saturday will enter the Bowl tournament.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS

The Penguins will face the Western Province Rugby Institute team from South Africa in the Round of 16 today, and could take on defending champions Daveta in the semi-final if both teams get that far. The French U-20s could face 2011 finalists Borneo Eagles in the quarter-finals, should they beat the Casuarina Cougars in their Round-of-16 clash.

While French coach Thierry Janeczek was unhappy with the referee's decisions during their final pool clash, Penguins counterpart John McKitterick was pleased with his team's performance.

Said the Kiwi: "I'm satisfied with the performance as our first priority was to get through pool play and qualify at the top to set us up for Day 3.

He said: "As the tournament's developed, I feel we're playing better and better while getting a better understanding of one another, so we're looking forward to tomorrow with some optimism."

While they were aiming for a place in the top 16, local side SCC had to settle for a place in the Bowl playoff after they lost their three matches to finish bottom of Pool D.


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