Qatar became the second Union in as many weeks to claim a maiden Test victory in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2011 after beating Division IV top seeds Jordan 26-8 at 7he Sevens in Dubai to set up a title decider with Lebanon on Friday.
Following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, who shocked Kazakhstan 24-10 in the Top 5 on 29 April, Qatar’s historic first win came in their very first Test match and will help to “put us on the map as a rugby team” according to wing Abdul Kareem Al Muhannady.
Qatar led 11-0 at the break with former Arabian Gulf fly half Paul Beard having the honour of scoring the nation’s first points in international rugby with a penalty and hooker Shane Kelly the first try. The advantage grew to 21-0 with Gavin Pier also touching down, before Nidal Zyadat’s try and a Jamal Masri penalty got Jordan on the scoreboard.
There was to be no way back though with Kelly scoring his second try of the match to seal a victory which coach Aaron Palmer believes “can only be good for rugby in Qatar. We scored three tries today so you have to be happy with that. It was a physical match, I think maybe more physical than the other semi final and our guys are sore.
“But a year ago we weren’t even a rugby nation and today we are in the finals. We have come this far and we are going to keep going.”
Leading by example
Al Muhannady added: “It was special to play for Qatar. It was my first cap and I had a good game. As this is the first national 15s rugby team I am very glad that we won this game. I want to put us on the map as a rugby team.”
The Division IV final will be played as a curtain raiser to the Top 5 encounter between the United Arab Emirates and three-time defending champions Japan at 7he Sevens, which kicks off at 20:00 local time.
Lebanon came through the first semi final thanks in no small part to a stellar performance by their captain and fly half Karim Jammal, who contributed all bar 10 of his side’s points in the 34-15 victory over second seeds Uzbekistan.
Jammal, a former England Schoolboy at Under 16 level, kicked two penalties and converted cetnre Jad Elhashem’s try as Lebanon established a 13-0 lead, before prop Sergey Komarin touched down to keep Uzbekistan in touch at half time.
Feruz Sokhibov reduced the deficit with a penalty before the two sides traded tries though Jammal and Nordibek Abduvaitov to make it 20-15. However, any hopes of an Uzbekistan comeback were ended with tries by Jammal and Ziad Elmurr touching down.