The United Arab Emirates continued to dominate Day 2 of the Asia Rugby U-18 Girls Rugby 7s Champions, emerging winners by beating India 21-17 in an absolute thriller.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) were crowned the 2021 Asia Rugby U-18 Girls Rugby 7s champions in Tashkent on 19th September. UAE beat the spirited Indian side in the final by 21-17 to emerge victorious in Asia’s first international tournament since 2019. Third place was claimed by Kazakhstan after an easy 10-0 victory over Uzbekistan.
Topping the pool table after completion of the round-robin matches, UAE met hosts and fourth-ranked Uzbekistan in the first semi-final, while India (second-ranked) took on the Kazakhstan challenge in the second semi-final.
Determined to become the first finalists, UAE brought out their A-game and restricted Uzbekistan to a modest 19-10 scoreline. Annabelle, Khawla and Nicole shared a total of three tries against Uzbekistan’s two, allowing the team a comfortable entry into the final.
A quick-footed Indian side took on Kazakhstan in the next semi-final who they had lost to in their tournament opener. In a complete turnaround from the previous day, it was India who had the last laugh as Kazakhstan failed to keep up with the Indian sprinters.
Sapna Kumari was impressed with her performance, scoring two of India’s four tries. Despite a valiant effort from a strong Kazakhstan side, the final berth was booked by India after a 24-7 victory.
An epic battle for a third-place finish between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan served as the perfect teaser before the finale. Interestingly, the tournament opener was played between the same two teams a day earlier.
Going all in, Kazakhstan made their intent clear and refused the opponents any try-scoring opportunities. Kazakhstan dodged a strong and controlled Uzbekistan defence by sticking to clean passes and moving the ball around in phases.
The strategy benefited the team as they ended their campaign against the hosts on a high, finishing third.
UAE and Indian, two top teams that impressed thoroughly in the tournament, met for one final clash in Tashkent.
UAE played a game of phases and India succumbed to the pressure early on, giving away too many loose gaps in the defence. Hannah opened the scoring for UAE, breaking through India’s defence right in the middle. After two UAE tries and conversions each, Gomti gathered speed to run halfway across the field and teammate Tarulata stepped up to translate the run into a successful try.
India kept up with tradition and scored their second try from the outside wing but two missed conversions kept UAE in the lead. After 15 minutes of play, despite three tries each, UAE’s 100 per cent conversion rate compared to India’s one/third clinched them the title. UAE trumped India with a 21-17 scoreline but not before registering India’s Arti Kumari as the tournament’s leading try-scorer.
Asia Rugby President Qais Al Dhalai travelled to Tashkent to witness the tournament first-hand and distributed prizes among the players.
Asia Rugby successfully hosting the following World Rugby accredited courses through the week: World Rugby L1 Coaching, World Rugby Level 2 Match Officiating, Activate, Medical Refresher Course and Media Workshop, as well as the first of a series of Women’s Forum which Asia Rugby will host at all upcoming tournaments.
Asia Rugby tournament dates can be viewed at the updated Asia Rugby Calendar 2021 here: Asia Rugby Calendar 2021