Iran upset Guam to reach Asian final

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 9 June 2010
 Iran upset Guam to reach Asian final
Niko Joku's late try was not quite enough for hosts Indonesia against top seeds Pakistan

Iran upset higher-ranked Guam 44-11 in the opening semi final of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 3 tournament in Jakarta to set up a final against Pakistan.

In the second semi final top seeds Pakistan had to fend off a fierce challenge from a vastly improved Indonesia side before winning through 13-11.

The results set up an enticing Pakistan v Iran final on Saturday with the winner set for promotion to Division 2.

Guam will face Indonesia in the 3rd/4th place play-off with both teams desperate to avoid relegation.

Iran 44-11 Guam

Although they entered the tournament as number two seeds behind Pakistan, Guam conceded significant advantages in size to their Iranian opposition at the UPH Stadium in Jakarta.

Iran took its opportunities around the fringes well throughout the match and enjoyed the upper hand at lineout and scrum time to lead 26-5 at half time through tries from lock Shahab Balali, wing Ramin Aajaij, Hassan Faradjolla and Iraj Rostami.

In the second half Rostami scored again and there was a further score for Ali Reza Bostani.

Farjam Atshan contributed 11 points with the boot and Amin Hossein Zadeh landed a late drop goal.

Indonesia 11-13 Pakistan

The second semi featured top seeds Pakistan, relegated as the bottom side in last year's Division 2 competition, and the hometown heroes Indonesia.

The match was a nail-biter with both teams managing only a penalty in a very physical first half.

Under new coach Duncan Hall the Indonesia Rhinos put up a tremendous fight throughout with captain and vice captain Kirk Arundale and Grant Olsen omnipresent in defence. Pakistan were unlucky at times as key dropped balls plagued both teams in the first half.

In the second half the game began to open up. Indonesia led after Kirk Arundale's penalty but towering Pakistan captain Sahir Alsam picked up from the base of a ruck to give Pakistan the lead, 10-6 with the conversion, and full back Manan Naseem added a penalty to extend the lead to 13-6.

Indonesia prop Niko Joku drove over for a late unconverted try to ensure a dramatic finish but Pakistan held on for the slender win.