Match report from William Ryan of the IRFU

Indonesia Rugby Beats Brunei 28 – 15, Wins Borneo Cup and Asian Nations Series Competition [/b]

The Indonesian Rhinos defeated their hosts, Brunei , late Wednesday to sweep the International Rugby Board (IRB) sponsored Asian Nations Series Division 6 Tournament.

The final performance was very satisfying for Coach Ismail with the team running in three tries by Hastono, Smalberger and Andarias Safiembolo with three penalties and two conversions from Kirk Aditya Arundale.

The action-packed game was watched by a large crowd including the Indonesian Ambassador and an enthusiastic group of cheering Brunei-based Indonesians.

After dominating the first 15 minutes, the Rhinos opened up a 21 -3 lead at half time through powerful forward drives and penetrating backline moves. The Rhinos line out play improved tremendously and although being under pressure in the scrums the backline tackled strongly to deny Brunei any advantage.

The second half was played in torrential rain but the Rhinos adapted to the conditions, closed the game up and kept the hosts under pressure with a deep kicking game. Despite a brief spirited comeback from Brunei , the Rhinos were always in control and the result was never in doubt.

Fikri Al Azhar, of Bandung , the team’s Captain, was elated with the win, saying “Alhamdulillah! This is a great reward for us, our hard work has paid off, we are so proud to see Indonesians playing rugby and winning at the international level.”

The national team, sponsored by Thiess Indonesia and Standard Chartered Bank, had previously defeated Laos (17 – 3) and last year’s victors Cambodia (11-10) in the annual tournament for developing nations in SE Asia .

The team included players from Kalimantan, Java, Bali, Halmahera, Papua and Sumbawa . Indonesian nationals also joined the team from as far away as England and Dubai .

By beating Brunei, Indonesia was also victorious in securing the first annual Borneo Darussalam Cup, which recognizes both cooperation in the sport of rugby and the peaceful relations between the two nations, which share the island of Borneo (with Malaysia).

The team had international help. The Singapore Rugby Union’s Development Manager, Ismail M. Kadir, acted as head coach, with the Australian former ESPN/Star Sports commentator, Justin Sampson, as his assistant. Mark Manderson ( Scotland ) and Alan Nye ( England ) were tour managers.

The tournament coincided with the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) meeting of the 26 Asian rugby playing nations, including Japan , Malaysia and China . At the Brunei meeting, an Indonesian representative was elected to the Executive Committee of the ARFU. A new tournament structure for Asia, tentatively titled the Asian Five Nations, which Indonesia will participate in at a tertiary level, was also approved.

Koji Tokumasu, a Japanese Rugby Union delegate present in Brunei , noted “In a short time, Indonesia has developed far beyond what anyone could have expected. We are quite pleased to see the great nation of Indonesia take its place among the rugby playing nations of Asia .”

Indonesia ’s bid to host the next year’s tournament was approved at the ARFU meeting and the competition will take place in July 2008 at a facility to be named in Jakarta .