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Guam Rugby makes history in beating China

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Courtesy: Asia Rugby Championship Courtesy: Asia Rugby Championship

Guam Rugby made history today with a comprehensive win over China in the Asian Rugby Championship Division 3 East match in Jakarta today. The win earns Guam promotion to Division 2 next year where they will meet United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Uzbekistan. Guam has played in Division 3 since it joined the Asian Rugby family in 2004.

Guam opened the match with an early try to Rob Leon Guerrero which was converted by Ratu Uluiviti. China responded with a penalty to make the score 7-3.

Randy Mendiola scored a further try midway through the first half. Uluiviti's conversion took the score to 14-3. Guam allowed China to score a converted try just before the half time break and saw the lead cut to 14-10.

A few words of "encouragement" from Coach Penn at the half time break obviously focused the Guam boys as they returned to the field fired up. Ten minutes into the second half, Ratu Uluiviti slotted a penalty from 40 meters to take the lead out to 17-10 and Jacob Flores followed up with a try which was again converted by Uluiviti to take the score out to 24-10.

With fifteen minutes left, prop Johnny Borja scored Guam's fourth try and Uluiviti again converted to take the score out to 31-10. A final penalty to Uluiviti saw Guam stretch the lead but allowed China a soft try in the closing minutes to see the final score 34-17.

Guam Rugby board members and fans following on Guam through an Asia Rugby Twitter feed were ecstatic. President Stephen Grantham thanked the players and Coaches for their efforts and is pleased to know that they will now be enjoying the glow of this historic and comprehensive victory. "The pressure on them was huge having come second in this tournaments for a number of years. " he said

Grantham particularly thanked Coach Tony "TP" Penn from Taranaki in New Zealand, Doctor Tom Mick from New York and Peter Hunt from Hamilton in New Zealand who have been with Guam Rugby over the past few years "as we have tried to scale this particular mountain". They along, with former coaches Willie Hetaraka and Dean Kaio, instilled a belief in the Guam players while former captain Paul Claros was largely responsible for the improved fitness and the level of commitment of the squad over the same period. "These men give up their time, energy and knowledge to help our small union and its players, and we are very grateful and happy to show that their combined efforts have been rewarded ... finally!" he said.

"We now pass the baton to our friends at Guam Football in their upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches and wish Jason Cunliffe and the boys every success" he added.

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