Rugby / Premier League / ASA Tel Aviv holds off feisty Ra'anana for opening win
In opening weekend of Israel's Rugby Premier League, Roosters give a taste of things to come.
ASA Tel Aviv encountered unexpected resistance from host Ra'anana but still triumphed over the Roosters 17-10 on Saturday in the opening weekend of Israel's Rugby Premier League. While the Roosters gave a taste of things to come this season, ASA Tel Aviv was not particularly impressive.
The game started somewhat reserved, but Ram Cohen drew a yellow card in the fourth minute, leaving Ra'anana with 14 men for the following 10 minutes. Tel Aviv exploited its numeric advantage and Oren Alt laid the team's first try of the game in the ninth minute, taking a 7-0 lead after the conversion kick.
The rivals continued attempts on offense to break downfield. Ra'anana required a lot of patience and determination to reach the try line, but the Roosters eventually made it to close the gap to 7-5.
ASA Tel Aviv scored next on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute to go up 10-5, and the score held until halftime.
Tel Aviv continued to control the ball in the second half, but Ra'anana did not let the visitors translate possession into points. Another yellow card was handed to Ra'anana, leaving it again with 14 men and a big hole on defense. Toko Sukhashvili took advantage of Ra'anana's lapse on defense, cutting through to provide an assist to Willie Hayman, who laid a try. Another conversion and Tel Aviv's lead increased to 17-5.
Ra'anana showed a lot of character and refused to break. They ran a pick and go play that paid off with a try of their own to make it 17-10. Tel Aviv then buckled down to end any dreams of an upset.
Despite the loss, Ra'anana raised a lot of hopes for the coming season. Tel Aviv showed it needs to improve to compete for the top of the league.
In the other scheduled Premier League match this weekend, Jezre'el/Gilboa was awarded a 20-0 technical victory over Haifa Wild Boars.