Yizre’el-Gilboa defended the rugby championship cup by routing the Ra’anana Roosters 60-11 last Saturday at Kibbutz Yizre’el.
A springlike day greeted the 700 spectators who came to see who would be 2012/13 champion. The game started with alternating penalty kicks as Yizre’el-Gilboa grabbed a 12-6 lead. The home team then took control with breakouts along the wings, but Ra’anana’s defense kept the hosts without a try until the waning moments of the first half.
A ball that emerged from the scrum about 10 meters from the try line reached Amit Harpaz, who scored the first try for the home side. Yizre’el-Gilboa took a 19-6 lead into halftime.
Both sides returned to the pitch with the feeling that it was anybody’s game, but Uri Abutbul scored a quick try to raise the home team’s advantage to 26-6, setting the tone for the second half.
Tzachi Hananya managed to cut the lead to 26-11, but from there the game belonged to the kibbutzniks, despite Ra’anana’s fighting spirit. The Roosters couldn’t match Yizre’el-Gilboa’s precise passes and speedy attacks from all directions.
Over the final 30 minutes, the hosts scored five tries en route to its almost perfect championship run. Abutbul accounted for 35 points and was named player of the game.
“In the first half we didn’t play our game and I was angry at the players who didn’t do what they needed to do,” said Alex Tkachenko, coach of the defending champions.
“Maybe it was because of the excitement, but with all the experience they have, it shouldn’t happen. We played a fast-paced game in the second half, and Ra’anana simply doesn’t have the talent and players to deal with that. Uri Abutbul is outstanding; he’s simply a student who learns the way you should.”
Yizre’el-Gilboa’s Yonatan Kaplan said it was an amazing game for which the team had labored all season. “We showed them what rugby is about,” he said.