Lahore Rugby Football Club (LRFC) lifted the 1st All-Pakistan Rugby-10 National Championship trophy after beating defending champions Islamabad Whites in sudden death play offs at Pakistan Sports Complex, Football Stadium on late Sunday night.
The highlight of the final was the guard of honour presented to both the finalists by bikers riding beautiful Harley-Davidson bikes, as soon as they entered the ground along with police band, the spectators gave standing ovation to them.
Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera graced the occasion as chief guest, while Islamabad Rugby Association (IRU) secretary, Salman Sheikh, Pakistan Rugby Union (PRU) vice president Yahya Bhatti, media manager Wafa Armani Abbas, PSB deputy director general facilities Agha Amjedullah, media director Shazia Ejaz, assistant director hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain, Peshawar Centre assistant director Mumtaz Ahmed, families and rugby lovers were also present at the venue.
The championship trophy was handed over to LRFC captain, while runners-up trophy was given to Islamabad skipper Ali Khan, who was also named player of the tournament while Adnan Niazi also of Islamabad Whites was declared the player of the final.
Later chief guest Akhtar Ganjera and Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association (RISJA) president Mohsin Ali distributed trophies and prizes among the teams and players. The chief guest offered his all-out support for rugby promotion and promised to provide free-of-cost facilities to the rugby union for the upcoming events.
The final match was highly-tensed battle where Islamabad Whites were enjoying overwhelming crowd support and they were all over LRFC in the first 10 minutes half. Lahore remained unable to clear the ball from their area throughout the first half. Lahore defence remained rock solid, despite they were given a real hampering especially by the player of the tournament Ali Khan, who was almost unstoppable.
The solid planning of Lahore Rugby Football Club (LRFC) produced wonders for them, as they entered the final with one aim of frustrating mighty Islamabad, and they remained highly successful in implementing their plans and strategies and clinching the title.
Lahore players then started playing aggressive game and came so close to breaking the deadlock, but Ali was standing between Lahore and victory, as he played his heart out and Islamabad must thank him for keeping them alive in the final.
Islamabad had a golden opportunity to score on a try, when Ali was running like a tiger and had almost dogged the entire Lahore defence, but he failed to clear the line and was timely tackled by four Lahore players.
The normal time ended with both teams locked at 0-0. The 5-minute sudden death was given to both the teams and Islamabad Whites blunder in the 3rd minute provided Lahore which they duly obliged, as Ali Sher scored three points on a plenty kick and helped his team win the title match.
Huge celebrations broke out as the players of LRFC and Lahore Hawks started dancing and hugging each other on the playing field.
It was double heart breaker for the hosts, as first they had lost the third position match against Lahore Hawks and that too on spin of the queen as match was tied at 5-5 in the normal time, and due to shortage of time, both the teams captains agreed to decide the fate of the match on toss.
Lahore Hawks were lucky enough to win the toss and thus earned the third position. Earlier, in an exhibition match between Islamabad Women Rugby Club and Lahore Women Rugby Club teams, Lahore thrashed Islamabad 17-0.
Photo courtesy: Pakistan Rugby Union facebook page