Thailand got off to a winning start in this year’s Asia Rugby Championship Division II with an 18-12 win over India.
In a round-robin competition both sides will now go on to face Chinese Taipei to see who will be crowned champions.
In a tight affair, the deadlock was not broken until the 37th minute in the first half when Thailand wing Tinnapop Klinkam found space to dot down. Akarin Thitisakulvit added the extras to take the scores to 7-0 at half-time.
The second half was just as close, and the next points didn’t come until the 57th minute when Thitisakulvit scored a penalty to extend Thailand’s lead.
India hit back minutes later however through replacement prop Shokender Shokender after some good work from the forwards.
With India back in the game, Thailand showed their experience and closed the game out through a second penalty from Thitisakulvit before adding a third try from Wuttikorn Kaewkhiao in the 80th minute.
There was still time for one more try for India as centre Prince Khatri powered over with Deepak Kumar Punia adding the extras to leave the scores 18-12 at full-time.
Afterwards former India captain and now General Manager for Rugby India, Nasser Hussian, said: “It was a really close and competitive game. All in all we are pleased with the way the team played as they worked hard in both attack and defence.
“We need to work a bit more on our set pieces and cut down on the unforced errors, which will play a crucial role and be the deciding factor in our next game.
“The ARC is a fantastic opportunity for lower ranked teams such as ours and provides a great platform to compete with higher ranked countries and something to aspire to. It provides a benchmark to improve and we are pleased to see an improvement in our standard of year on year.”