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 Sports

Borneo Eagles soar again

25th March, 2019

SANDAKAN: Host club, Borneo Eagles Club (ERC) bagged their sixth Borneo Sevens title when they defeated Hong Kong Dragons 19-14 in a closely battled match to wrest the title at their Stadium in Sandakan yesterday evening (Sunday).

ERC were bent on making up for last year’s defeat in the final to Iconz Australia when they were denied for a record fourth consecutive title, and showed the Aussies the exit in the semi-finals when they defeated them 21-10.

Hong Kong Dragons, on the other hand had defeated Sabah Eagles 24-0 in the other semifinals to book their berth in the final.

Expectations were indeed running high going into the tournament for hosts Borneo Eagles, but they did not disappoint their club and fans as they powered to yet another Borneo Sevens victory.

Eagles were, however, pushed hard by a spirited Hong Kong Dragons side who led 14-12 at half-time.

Eagles, coached by former All Black Josh Van Lieshout, got the breakthrough when it mattered to run out 19-14 winners much to the delight of an adoring home crowd.

It was ERC’s Glen Dale Cook Cakutini who carried ERC with his two tries and a conversion which lifted his team. Van Lieshout paid homage to his players, who delivered the victory.

“The second day in a tournament is always a big day, every game is important,” said Van Lieshout. “Let’s be honest, it was a final – the best two teams in the competition played – and it was close. You could tell by the score, so credit to both teams

“We were just going to keep doing what we were doing (in earlier rounds) and focus on our defence. They had some big forwards, and we tried to cover their strategy.

“Obviously, I am very happy the boys won. If I get the opportunity to, I would definitely love to work with Eagles again in the future.”

The women’s cup final saw Japan’s Nagato Blue Angels living up to their title favourites status after comfortably downing Australian side Southern District 39-0.

The men’s champions pocketed US$10,000 (RM40,647) while the runners-up took home US$5,000 (RM20,323) for their efforts.

The women’s champions received US$4,000 (RM16,259) while the runners-up took home US$2,000 (RM8,129). Both men’s (Rimau Sevens) and women’s (Panthera Ladies) national teams ended the competition as plate champions (5th place) after going out in the quarterfinal stage of the cup competition.

Rimau defeated Labuan’s Wipers Tsunami 17-14 while Panthera downed Sabah Eagles 24-12 in their respective place finals. – PR

   
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