Friday 10th of March saw MRFC travel to Bahrain for the latest round in the Gulf Conference League. Despite a win in the home leg fixture earlier in the year Muscat new this was to be a tough game and took a full squad to compete against the Bahrain Select side.
In the opening ten minutes both teams desperately fought to get a grip on the match, however poor discipline from Muscat allowed Bahrain to take a achaten-suisse.com territorial lead in the game and put the pressure on the travelling team. Bahrain came close two times in the first 10 minutes however Karl Rasmussen was on hand on both occasions to tackle the Bahrain players into touch just in front of the Muscat try line. More penalties followed however and clever tactical play allowed for Bahrain to score the game’s first try, which was unsuccessfully converted.
This was the boost Muscat needed mentally. The Muscat pack able to put phase after phase together. The increased pressure resulting in a Muscat Penalty inside the Bahrain 22. Choco Dejean reacting quickly took the tap immediately and hit the gap for Muscat’s first try before Bahrain were able to reorganise their defence. The try was also converted by Choco.
Muscat continued the pressure, backs and forwards linking up well, with strong running from Macdara Ó Ciardha, Stoney Steenkamp and Guillaume Backé. Unfortunately for Bahrain some poor discipline led to a Yellow Card, and a penalty in front of the posts that was unfortunately missed. Muscat however, showed the character that has resulted them in being the league leaders this season, and with some great forwards play it wasn’t long until Phillip Braban was in sniffing distance of the tryline; the number 7 picking from the back of a ruck quickly and crashing over the line allowing Muscat to go into the half leading 12-5.
The second half was a huge battle of attrition. Muscat came out and dominated the first 20 minutes with strong lineouts and mauling. Both team’s backrows were doing their up-most to disrupt the others game. Muscat even managed to get the ball over the try line on 3 occasions in the second half however none were given by the referee.
A credit to their temperament, Bahrain were not phased and increased up the pace of the game, catching Muscat out with some quick taps from penalties. The first allowed them to kick for posts to narrow the point lead to 12-8. Despite a committed defence from Muscat another penalty allowed Bahrain to kick for the corner. An accurate linout and a strong drive at the tail gave Bahrain final points of the game. Bahrain taking the lead 15-12 with one minute remaining.
Muscat will bemoan the fact they let the game slip after asserting control for long periods, however credit must go to committed Bahrain side. An exciting game for the fans, and a fantastic 3rd half in the club house, but Muscat will use this in training this week as we prepare for the game in Kuwait on the 17th March.