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Gibraltar V Granada Rugby Report

On a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon CD Granada 2004 rugby team arrived at Pueblo Nuevo Rugby pitch, home of John Smiths Gibraltar Rugby sponsored by Peninsula Petroleum. The game started brightly for the visitors, although Gibraltar scored first with a superbly kicked penalty from full back Chris Gillighan. Granada’s forwards were gaining early possession from sloppy work at the lineout by Gibraltar and one such turnover led to a try scored by de la Rosa on 13 minutes which was duly converted. This stung Gibraltar into a response, the forwards tightening their play and feeding the backs with some quality possession.

On the 20 minute mark after some sterling work from the front 3 of Uphill, Perera and Boulton, James Russo received quality ball from the base of the scrum and he unleashed Ross Eatwell for a perfect response into the corner, the kick was converted by the trusty boot of Chris Gillighan. There followed a period of handling errors from both teams, but Gibraltar constantly proved a threat with the centre pairing of Garcia and Couper making several dynamic thrusts up the park. On the 36th minute following some superb handling from Garcia, and surprisingly Dibb, James Russo was set free to crash over the line for Gibraltar’s 2nd try of the game, unfortunately the extra 2 points were missed this time.

John Smiths Gibraltar Rugby Club sponsored By Peninsula Petroleum had now stepped up a gear and the backs looked increasingly dangerous whenever they received the ball. With the half drawing to a close the forwards turned over great ball in the centre of the park inside Granada’s 22, an excellent driving maul started by South African Nick Muller ensued and smashed through the defences by Chris Gillighan to allow James Russo to score his second try of the game under the sticks, the successful conversion was the last act of the first half. Half time score Gibraltar Rugby Club 22 CD Granada 2004 7

The second half began and Granada had been forced into a pack reshuffle, this made it tough for the Gibraltar front 5 to settle and the scrummage which had been solid, started to creak, fortunately the line out was reaping quality possession with the throw to the middle of the line. The first 20 minutes of the second half continued as the first, Gibraltar looking very dangerous attacking and it was only down to some brave last ditch tackles that Gibraltar didn’t run away with the game.

Occasional errors were gifting Granada possession but this only allowed the centres Garcia and Couper along with Chad Thomson and Chris Lyons to give a lesson in tackling to the watching fans. By the 65th minute with the scores still at 22-7 Gibraltar won the ball on the 10m line, the ball was quickly spun out along the line allowing John Dibb to cross the line for the first of his 2 tries, to cap this he added a conversion from the far touch line. This try seemed to break the Granada will, the backs were receiving more ball now and running at will at their beleaguered opposition, holes were appearing in the defence and again John Dibb took advantage with a super angled run to receive the ball and again cross for another try, unfortunately he could not repeat his efforts with the conversion.

The game was now drawing to a close, energy was low and substitutes were on from Gibraltar’s very strong bench, from out of the blue Charlie Valender collected the ball and made a sabre like strike, broke through 3 players and released Julian Leigh to mark his first appearance of the season with a superbly taken try under the posts right at the death which was slotted over easily.

Man of the match for the second game running was voted James Russo, although he had to leave the field with a poorly toe with 14 minutes left.

A tough game for both teams thanks to the heat, but one enjoyed by the multitude of massed supporters watching from the sidelines, which ended 41-7 to Gibraltar which leaves them with 10 points from the opening 2 games.

Next week sees the unbeaten John Smiths Gibraltar Rugby Club sponsored by Peninsula Petroleum travel to take on newcomers to the league CD Rugby Mairena, near Sevilla.

Gibraltar team that played Granada

Rob Uphill, Adrian Perera, Kevin Boulton, Chad Thomson, Charles Valender, Gary Evans, Nick Muller, Chris Lyons, James Russo, Ross Eastwell, John Dibb, Joey Garcia, Hamish Couper, Mark Breen, Chris Gillighan, Ronnie Gache, Julian Leigh, David Healey, Owain Richards, Dale Walton, Nick Culatto

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