Israel’s dream of advancing into the next World Cup qualification stage came to an abrupt end at the Wingate Institute on Saturdayas the powerful Netherlands team ran out 52-8 winners.
The Israelis came into the game on a streak of wins that had lasted over two years, but came up against far superior opposition. The Netherlands, ranked 13 places above Israel at 35 in the world, were better equipped in terms of both ability and experience.
After a tenuous start, the Dutch team took the lead after nine minutes, finishing off a multi-phase period of pressure on the Israeli defense with a flying try from its back line.
Much of the first half was a battle of attrition between two hard-working packs, with the Dutch taking a greater proportion of the position thanks to some superb loose play by its flankers, and particularly dominant eighth man, Dirk Danen.
After 22 minutes Danen broke through three Israeli tackles before passing to fleet-footed winger Nicky Verhoeven to score the team’s second try. Danen again burst through to set up a third try for his backs, and the Netherlands went into the half time break 20-3 ahead.
When Leon Koenen rounded off a cut-and-thrust move for the Netherland’s fourth try in the 52nd minute, the game was effectively over. The Dutch continued to wear down the hosts, cutting through the defense at will as they added three more tries. Eitan Humphreys scored a consolation try for Israel in the dying minutes.