ISLAMABAD - Islamabad Whites led by inspirational skipper Saad Arif and Army under Nasir dominated the inaugural day of the Rugby 10s National Championship 2017, which started here at Pakistan Sports Complex, outer football ground on Saturday.

It was awesome grand opening ceremony with all the 23 participating teams dressed up in their respective track suits marched passed in front of chief guest Agha Amjedullah, Deputy Director General Pakistan Sports Board, while Islamabad Rugby Union President Bilal Butt, Pakistan Rugby Union vice president M Yaha Bhatti, media director Syed Wafa Abbas Armani, Assistant Director Hostles Malik Imtiaz Hussain along with respectable size of sports journalists and a huge rugby loving crowd were present to cheer up the warriors, who had gathered from all parts of the country to make this beautiful sports spread all corners of the country.

The day started with Islamabad Whites, last year’s losing finalists, were up against Lodhran, who had come with huge reputation of being the champions in Division-II and earned the right to play in the Division-I. But it was a nightmare start for the Lodhran boys’, who had to face hot-favourites Whites and that too in the very first encounter. As per expectations, Whites just ripped apart Lodhran and took the encounter without any difficulty. In fact, Whites could have scored around 50 had they not rested key players like Bilal Khan and other top scorers. Islamabad Whites won 22-0, with skipper Saad Arif scoring 9 on tries.

In the second encounter, Lahore Rugby Football Club had to settle for a tame 5-5 draw against Lahore Hawks. Both teams were equally balanced and had played against each other on number of occasions and know each other very well that was the main reason behind the draw, as boy’s’ gave too much respect to each other and refrained from hard tries.

In the third match, mighty Army, who are participating for the first time, outclassed Hawks 19-5. Nasir was the hero for the winners, scoring on two kicks and one try. In the third match, Lodhran bounced back after first loss and beat Islamabad Blacks 3-0. Islamabad had entered two teams in the event. In 4th match, Army hammered Lahore Rugby Football Club 38-0. Nasir and Aslam were simply outstanding for the Army side. In 5th match, Whites outclassed Blacks 31-0. Whites played well beyond strength against their B team and Saad was in awesome mood to help his team registering another convincing victory. The main round of Division-I including final will start today.

In Division-II, Desert Camels hammered Muzaffargarah 44-5. Rehmanullah was simply too good and hot to handle for Muzaffargarah, as he almost single-handedly took the match away. In second match Vehari outshone Multan 5-0. Ahmed Mittho was the outstanding player for the winners. In third match, Balochistan beat Fata 12-0 thanks mainly to Mateeh Ullah, who was the hero of the day. In 4th match, Desert Camels registered second victory of the day against Balochistan, winning 12-0. Once again it was Rehmanullah, who made the difference. In the 5th match, Fata and Muzaffargarah played out highly entertaining 10-10 draw. Basit saved the day for Muzaffargarah, who were trailing 7-10 as he scored on a try to snatch a draw right on the last kick of the day while Qaiser was instrumental for Fata.

In U-16 match played between GSIS School and Noorpur School Faisalabad, GSIS won the encounter 5-0 thanks to a special effort from Ali. In U-14 match, GSIS beat Angles School Faisalabad 10-5.

It is quite encouraging that Islamabad Rugby Union and Islamabad Rugby Football Club not only invited top male, female teams for the championship but they also invited school teams from Faisalabad as well and bored all travelling-loading expenses and also provided meal and accommodation to visiting teams, which is by appreciable considering the fact, they don’t have much sponsorship money available. The players of Islamabad Rugby Football Club and officials contributed to promote rugby while Director General PSB also lend great help by providing free of cost accommodation, meal and facilities.




Mohsin Ali