Stompers Win the MRFU CUP!!!

My rugby team, Stompers, also won the Malta Rugby Union Cup. The Cup is a separate competition that runs parallel with the league. It is a round robbin comp where you play each team just once. The top 2 teams then play off for the Cup. This year we faced off against Overseas.

Here is the write up in the local papers:

Source: http://www.maltasport.com/modules/knowledge/item.php?itemid=3804

Stompers claimed the MRFU Cup after beating Overseas 22-13 in the final on Saturday.

Overseas started with a hiss and a roar, immediately putting Stompers under pressure and within 29 seconds of the game, scored their first try, out wide by Vince Stivala after Overseas picked up a wayward pass and ran it in. The conversion was waved away and Overseas lead by five points to nil.

From the kickoff, Stompers ran it through their backline and went close to scoring, with some surging runs by both backs and forwards. Overseas were making the tackles to keep them out, but finally Overseas were penalised for the tackler not rolling away and Attard stepped up and drilled it; Overseas 5 Stompers 3.

It was around this time, just 9 minutes into the game, when under pressure from Stompers, Stuart Holliday tried to run the ball out of trouble, on his own goal line, when he was caught in a tackle and down he went, with an injury to his leg.

Once play started again Stompers kicked long and as Overseas tried to run it out from their line, a poor pass was intercepted by Chris Morton, who then ran it in under the posts, with Malcolm Attard slotting the conversion it was Stompers 10 Overseas 5.

Play see-sawed up and down the field, with neither side being able to finish off promising moves, as the defense shut them down. The half ended with the score unchanged.

In the second half, Overseas lost their Australian fullback Justin Barlogio, due to an injury. Overseas kicked a penalty just a few minutes into the half, to give their supporters some hope again, which took the score to: Stompers 10 Overseas 8.

It was very much a defensive game, as both Stompers and Overseas piled into each other with the big hits, not allowing any continuity in the play. A number of dropped passes did not help the cause and led to a stop start affair.

Steve Busuttil had the game under control, but was trying to let things flow. Overseas were winning the territorial battle, but just could not finish off any of their promising moves.

Diamantino went off with an injury, after establishing control in the line-outs, which then allowed Overseas, to gain at least parity for the lineout ball. Overseas back three were scavenging for the ball well and were trying to get big Clayton Cassar to clatter his way through the 10 channel, but every time, he was scythed down, by Patrick Satariano.

Satariano was trying to get his backline functioning, but on a number of occasions, he was caught by Stivala coming through, putting him under pressure. The Overseas Captain Josh Howland was yellow carded for slowing down the tackled ball, with hands in the ruck.

It was the last 15 minutes and Overseas, who had been battling all day to stay in the game, started to look tired, that midweek game against Kavallieri was beginning to take its toll.

It was allowing Stompers that extra yard to move in, so they began to work it around in the backline, a sweeping move upfield with Mario Fountain in the line to create the overlap and to run his winger, Tom Diacono, into the corner for the try.

A swirling kick from Attard, from the touchline, just snuck over the bar and it was Stompers 17 Overseas 8.

With the extra lineout ball that Overseas were getting, they spun the ball through their backline and laid siege to the Stomper’s line, winning a series of rucks, sucking in the defence, then going wide for O’Reilly to go over, 10 metres in from the corner. Stivala’s kick bounced back off the uprights. Stompers 17 Overseas 13

The Stomper’s backline was finding space out wide and again, they ran it at the tiring Overseas defence, outflanking them, their winger heading for the corner, then giving an inside pass back to Attard who was backing up the move for him to score wide out.


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Stompers Win the Malta Rugby Union Log

We won the local Malta rugby union log! We were undeafeted after Christmas which was amazing!

This was our last regular season game, which if we won, would secure the title. We did!

Source: http://www.maltasport.com/modules/knowledge/item.php?itemid=3676

Stompers were crowned Malta rugby champions after beating Kavallieri 46-31 in an entertaining encounter in the weekend.

This game will be looked at as a milestone in local rugby and to be talked about for years by the crowd of several hundred who were there, barracking for their team to win.

Both teams were missing their Malta national team players, who are preparing for the next two internationals, against Latvia (away 18th April) and Holland (at home 25th April). Each player had to raise his game to make up for the depleted ranks.

When Stompers were two tries up, thanks to Mario Fountain and Luke Debattista, after some slick passing in the backs, with just 15minutes on the clock, it looked as if they were going to run away with it.

But then a Stompers player was sent to the sin bin, for tripping. Kavallieri, with a series of pick and goes in the forwards, laid siege to the Stomper’s line and scored two tries, through Sean Doublesin and Robert Bonavia, crashing through the defense, from close range.

Three points were kicked by Malcolm Attard, when Kavallieri were penalised midfield, for not releasing in the tackle.

Satariano was marshalling his backs, with crisp passing and slick interchanges, hitting his strong running fullback Fountain, who scored again, when he chimed into the backline at pace, taking a delayed, flat pass and side stepping the Kavallieri rush defense, to score in the corner. With no conversion, the score was 22-14 to Stompers.

Kavallieri kept the game tight, with their forwards carrying the ball up field. The Stompers defense kept them from scoring. Finally, Kavallieri won a penalty for a Stomper’s player not rolling away after the tackle and Roderick Attard kicked the three points.

A defensive kick by Satariano, that was allowed to bounce by the Kavallieri back three, had them in all sorts of bother and Luke Debattista swooped in, got a lucky bounce and his pace took him around the defenders, to score under the posts.

With the second half underway, the Kavallieri forwards were trying to get back into the game, but it was all catch up rugby, as whenever they scored, then the Stompers backline would kick into high gear, with switches and double rounds exposing the Kavallieri’s defense.

Kavallieri scored again through a forward rush, with Cutajar going over near the posts and R Attard’s conversion putting Kavallieri within a try of the Stompers.

But immediately, Satariano scored, doubling around his inside centre, creating space, and then accelerating for the tryline. Another try followed by Mario Fountain. After a quick tap penalty, he outstripped the defense, ran down the touchline, to score in the corner. No conversion.

Kavallieri battled their way up field, running onto the ball and going through the phases, from tackle to ruck and then backline move, with finally Joe Cutajar scoring next to the posts. Roderick Attard kicked the conversion successfully.

In a final backline move, that really showed the difference between the two teams, Satariano doubled around his inside centre, to take the pass, then quickly reversed the ball back inside, to a straight running Malcolm Attard, who went through the space that the play had created, to score untouched near the posts. The conversion was successful.


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Stompers RFC use a “Get out of Jail Free” card – beat Overseas RFC 17 – 13

In our second round league game in the local Malta rugby comp we played a tough Overseas RFC side.

The below article from: http://www.maltasport.com/modules/knowledge/item.php?itemid=3584

Stompers were made to work hard to beat Overseas in the MRFU Championship Pool round two match, while Kavallieri eased to victory against Birkirkara Alligators.

Stompers – Overseas 17-13
With a strong cross wind throughout the game and coupled with the fact that Mario Fountain and Matt Mirabelli were not playing, Stompers struggled to get their running game going, until really late in the proceedings.

Morton was playing at fullback, so his skills were missed in the line, and with Mario Fountain serving a suspension, there was no one running from depth into the backline and so the Stomper’s play was a stop start affair.

Overseas were out to make amends. They had gone close in the two previous games against the Stompers; drawing one and losing by one point in the other.

The spirit of the Overseas play and their defence, shut the Stompers down from their running game and a lively combination between young Vince Stivala and the eternally young Sean Duffy, had the Overseas backline buzzing.

Richard Newbold, back from injury made some fine breaks and put in one particularly good defensive tackle to take out Malcolm Attard, just short of the line. Eight points, to nil at half time, they had pretty well controlled matters with strong running and tackling.

The usually threatening Stompers backs were well harnessed and even the mercurial Satariano was stifled to the point that his half back partnership with Galea was disjointed.

The Overseas pack won the loose ball battles and it really looked as if they had the match under control.

They took the game out to 13 nil; with a well placed penalty kick by Vince Stivala, and two magnificent tries by Dean Mifsud Bonnici and Brian Dalton.

In the second half, Stompers started their comeback as they pulled back a try by Luke Debattista. They moved into a higher gear and Satariano began to create half breaks with his swerving changes of pace to give runners like Attard the opportunities to test the tacklers again and again. Diamantino went on for Stompers and this gave them some extra authority.

Eight minutes left to the final whistle, Overseas just evaporated under pressure and first Schembri Warren was yellow – carded for dissent, and then a couple of minutes later, their Captain was sin-binned for misconduct.

With seconds to go, it looked like Overseas had secured the win, but the real drama was saved for the last play of the game when Overseas won the ball from the scrum and it came back to their scrum – half who had to just run it into touch to win the game.

However, he decided to play the ball wide, and Stompers won the ball from the ensuing breakdown. Chris Morton went over to score the winning try, followed by a successful conversion.


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Malta Rugby – Preseason Cup

My first game of the new 2008/09 national Malta rugby season was last weekend with out first game being the Preseason “Ray Elliot” Cup vs Kavallieri.

I think our team played strong in parts however this being the Stompers very first game we were rusty in patches of the game which showed in making simple mistakes and turnovers.

We didn’t win… losing 22 – 17.

Here is the local sports write up of the game:

Kavallieri Megaman Cisk Excel started the new rugby season on a high when they clinched the Ray Elliott Cup after a 22-17 win over Stompers TGI Friday.

The rugby season opened at Marsa with a bang as a host of matches were played on the two pitches now available to this swiftly expanding sport, before several hundred spectators.

Traditionally the main match on the first day of the season is between the two top teams of the previous season in which champions Kavallieri started as strong favourites.

However, despite a big growth in playing membership and a comprehensive pre-season training program, they were disappointing.

Had it not been for the fitness of hardened forward veterans and their current internationals they could easily have lost this to the faster Stompers backline.

The Kavallieri backs were slow in thinking and action, with the only real penetration coming from Micalef and Doublesin.

By contrast Stompers enjoyed a selection of speedsters who were always dangerous, and in the first half showed that a number of their younger forwards were ready to move up into senior rugby to make a mark. However, in the end fitness was crucial and Kavallieri had the edge.

Scoring was opened when Morton ripped open the Kavallieri backs to put M. Attard in for an unconverted try for Stompers.

After further pressure by Stompers the ever dangerous Debattista broke well on the blind side but his scoring pass inside was dropped in the touch down so wasted. M. Attard also missed a short-range penalty to waste further points.

Kavallieri Schembri earned a yellow card for an illegal trip on Mirabelli, but Stompers lost the initiative with a series of errors and gave away ground until a stupid penalty allowed Kavallieri to kick touch close to the line and from there it was almost inevitable that their superb lineout maul drill would lead to a score.

Sure enough, Borda burrowed over out of the maul converted to grab the lead, against the run of play.

The second half began with a more focused Kavallieri exerting the traditional forward grind on their less fit opponents, and after Stomper errors gave away many meters of ground they played a brilliant switch lineout which wrecked the defence for Grima to score.

Rob Bonavia made a great 40 metre run, well supported by his fellows deep into Stompers half but they then broke out to win quick ball for Morton to slice through for another fine try to bring Stompers right back.

More Kavallieri forward pressure including a big run by D. Borg, setting up close range attacks, and Doublesin scored for Kavallieri , thanks to a perfect handoff which flattened a tackler.

As the Stompers tired against the grinding Kavallieri spent more time pounding their line, but suddenly the fast backs broke away and only a brilliant cover tackle by Mike Bonavia stopped a try.

Another burst by Rob Bonavia made a second try for Grima to stretch the lead but Stompers hit back with the best try of the match by Debattista, converted by Attard, but it was too little too late and Kavallieri took the Ray Elliott Cup.


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Guinness Premiership Tips (Round 6)

Here are my tips for Round 6 rugby action in the Guinness Premiership…

Friday 14th November 2008

Sale Sharks (3) V Worcester Warriors (11)

Friday nights game between third placed Sale Sharks and eleventh placed Worcester Warriors looks like to be one way traffic with top of the table Sharks looking to take another bite in their intentions to win this years Premiership.

Bottom of the table Warriors will have to be weary of the likes of New Zealand born Luke Mcalister who is in career best form for his UK based club.

The Warriors new recruit from the QLD Reds in Australia, Chris Latham, will look to turn the tide of recent results as Worcester is coming close to winning but resulting in narrow defeats in their last few outings.

My tip is Sale Sharks by 12 points.

Predicted Score: Sale Sharks 24 – Worcester Warriors 12

Sportsbook Odds: Outright Winner

Stompers TGI Fridays vs Overseas 20-10

The last game against Overseas we won 20-10. Winning this game qualified us to play against Kavalleri in the Cup Final.

Game Report:
This was a match that Stompers were fortunate to win and was marred by inexperienced refereeing. The rucks were badly controlled, Stompers were almost permanently offside, and lay about in obstructive positions and several nasty high tackles were left unpenalised.

However, Overseas really should have won, they enjoyed a big territorial advantage, and did not take penalty kicks at goal, so wasting some 16 potential points.

After fifteen minutes of Overseas pressure, centre Christopher Morten intercepted for Stompers to run 75 metres for a try converted by left winger Jovan Relic.

Overseas went back into attack but could not find their way through, actually choosing not to take penalties for the points. A big factor was that Stompers were allowed to mark from an offside position.

Stompers gained ground with big kicks and Jovan Reljic showed Overseas the way by kicking a penalty for Stompers. Stompers Mario Fountain was having a fine game at full back, as was Andrew O’Reilly for Overseas.

When Stompers were able to release their backs, Christopher Morten was always dangerous, at one time beating six tacklers.

Stompers scrum half Edward Willis was yellow carded for a nasty high tackle, and the half ended at 10 – 0 to Stompers.

Stompers began with a superb run by Mario Fountain, weaving and swerving from way deep until finally stopped just short but veteran Christoffel Diamantino was at hand to drive in for the try.

Despite several Stompers high tackles going unpunished, scrum half David Judd of Overseas was yellow carded, to be followed by eight lock Keith Zammit of Stompers.

Left-winger Dean Mifsud Bonnici of Overseas is improving enormously and made two fine tackles on the right winger Luke Debattista and Mario Fountain.

In a rare Stompers attack, Christopher Morten showed a lovely change of pace and angle to run in a fine try, but Overseas powered back for the tight head prop Neil West to drive over.

Stompers Christoffel Diamantino was finally yellow carded for persistent infringing, and Overseas surged hard to camp in Stompers territory.

West scored a second try from a maul but it was all too late and lucky Stompers will play Kavallieri in the MRFU Cup Final on Saturday, April 26.

Article: Malta Sport