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Great win for Gibraltar in their first encounter of the Andalucian First Division

Saturday the 18th of October saw the start of the new Andalucian rugby season, with the John Smiths Gibraltar Rugby Football Club sponsored by Peninsula Petroleum launching straight into the fray travelling away against the newly merged team from Malaga.

This new outfit comprises members of the former CR Malaga and Universidad Malaga and were a formidable opponent in the first game of GRFC's second season in the top flight of rugby in Andalucia.

The team from Gibraltar were under pressure from the start, outweighed in the forwards by the sizable Malaga pack, which began dominating in the scrums and the breakdowns early on. This led to an early Malaga try, which was unconverted.

In light of this, the decision was made to adapt the game tactics to suit the opposition Gibraltar faced; quick ball to the backs was needed, especially when bogged down in defence, as the GRFC backs had already demonstrated their ability to break the lines of the Malaga back line.

A number of these moves led to some quick points for Gibraltar, a penalty which was taken successfully by Chris Gillighan, followed by a superb move by the backs ending in a try in the corner on the 17th minute by Gibraltar wing Albert Loddo. The conversion was just missed. Some excellent support play by the Gibraltar pack, not being sucked into play and covering the midfield whilst their backs were tied up in rucks led to a second try in the 38th minute, with Gibraltar prop forward Kevin Boulton going over the line. This was again unconverted, but Gibraltar launched straight back into attack from the restart, scoring again on the stroke of half time through Mark Breen which was successfully converted this time by Chris Gillighan.

Half Time Malaga 17 – 20 Gibraltar

Gibraltar started the second half in much the same way as they had left the first. A lot of fast moving open running rugby, with quick ball being secured each time. This led to drive the Malaga pack to frustration, who then gave away a penalty in front of their posts. Chris Gillighan was again on target with the boot.

A number of unforced errors and questionable decisions were to Gibraltar's detriment shortly after. A try was disallowed for a forward pass that never occurred followed by a pair of dubious penalty decisions, both of which were taken quickly by Malaga and scored in the corner.

John Smiths Gibraltar Rugby Club sponsored by Peninsula Petroleum had made a number of their own substitutions by this point, most effective of which was replacement winger John Gillighan. Shortly after making his appearance he broke through the tackle of his opposite man, to score in the corner on the 65th minute. A fantastic effort from the sideline converted the try. 6 minutes later an almost identical move set John Gillingham up again, this time breaking through 3 tacklers to score in the identical spot as previously, and in true mirroring fashion, Chris Gillingham converted the try once more .

Final Score: Malaga 29 – 37 Gibraltar

Try’s: Albert Loddo, Kevin Boulton, Mark Breen, John Gillighan (x2)

Kicks: Chris Gillighan (x5 – 2xPen 3xConv)

The team has its second game this Sunday 26th October at 13.00 at Guadiaro

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