Israel's Rugby Team Hosts Bosnia in Must-win Match

Match seen as critical run up to the upcoming game against Malta, the rugby team to beat

Israel's rugby team plays rugby
Nir Keidar

Israel’s national rugby team will host Bosnia Herzegovina at Wingate Stadium this Saturday in a European championship match that local officials deem as vital to its promotion hopes.

Israel is a member of Conference 1 South at this stage of the 2017-2018 Rugby Europe International Championships. The squad split its first two group games, both on the road. Israel downed Andorra before losing to Croatia.

“The next one will be against Malta,” Asaf Gayer of the Israel Rugby Union told Haaretz on Thursday. “Malta is probably the strongest in our group.” Because Malta will be a major obstacle to finishing on top of the group, the Israelis see Bosnia as “a must-win game,” stressed Gayer.

The match will also be the first home game for new coach Kevin Musikanth. “He was the South Africa head coach in the last Maccabiah,” said Gayer. “He played university and coached university in South Africa, which is quite a high level of rugby. His team, the University of Cape Town’s Ikey Tigers, won the World University Cup in 2015.”

Musikanth replaced Raanan Penn, who was the team’s head coach for around a decade. Penn is sticking around this campaign as assistant coach to help Musikanth “get to know the system and the guys,” added Gayer.

A national youth tournament will precede the men’s match, the rugby union also announced.

The men’s squad starters are Matan Brosh, Tomer Bracha, Jared Sichel, Jonathan Shaki, Uri Gail, Guy Matisis, Fabian Maguid, Gilad Goldstein, Eithan Humphreys, Vitali Pryimak, Yuval Zindani, Mordechay Radrashkovich, Ori Abutbul, Jonathan Radrashkovich and Ronen Tollman.