ISLAMABAD - Visiting Italy rugby team beat Pakistan team 32-20 in an exhibition match played here at Pakistan Sports Complex on Saturday.

Interestingly it was Pakistan team , which enjoyed lead in the first half and played superbly. The first 20-minute half ended with Pakistan leading 12-10, but as soon as the second half started, Italians started playing aggressively and never allowed Pakistani players to bounce back. Italy dominated the entire second half, which was almost played in Pakistan’s half, as local players were struggling to keep pace with super fit Italians. After surviving some anxious moments, Italians built up healthy lead and it was soon 32-20 in favour of Italy .

Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzab graced the occasion as chief guest and distributed trophies and awards to the players. Speaking on the occasion, the minister welcomed Italian rugby team to Pakistan and said with sacrifices of armed forces, now Pakistani grounds are once again welcoming top international teams and individuals. She also paid glowing tributes to PCB chairman Najam Sethi for conducting the PSL final in Lahore, inviting Sri Lankan team to play T20 in Lahore and hoped other international teams would come and play in the country.

She said there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan . “It is our top most priority to pack play grounds with spectators and athletes. Democracy is spreading strong roots in the country. The federal and provincial governments played key role in restoring peace and we are providing best security to the visiting teams. We fought terrorism menace for 35 years.”

She was quite sure that traditional sports would also be revived in Pakistan . “We are giving top focus to construct new play grounds for youth as per Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme.” She congratulated the organisers for inviting and playing such keenly-contested rugby match and hoped that other international rugby teams would also visit Pakistan and play exhibition and regular matches.