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Gibraltar's Pillars Of Hercules Rugby 7s tour New York City

P.O.H travelled across the globe to compete in the 50th Anniversary New York Sevens in the club level competition representing Gibraltar in the international field. In an unbelievable tournament featuring 106 teams in total P.O.H were grouped with Sherbrooke Abenakis 1st’s of Canada, White Plains, the New York state champions, and Brantford Harlequins, the winners from 2007 and a team that included two Canada A players. P.O.H were victorious against Sherbrooke 35-7 with some open and expansive sevens which involved little contact against a physically bigger side. In the second game against White Plains P.O.H turned up the intensity on a much narrower pitch and came away 54-7 winners the quote of the game being from the opposition captain who told us that our kit was so amazing we should be on a catwalk and not a rugby pitch....key. The final group game was the decider against Brantford who had beaten the other two teams by similar scores to P.O.H. Needing a win to progress to the cup competition the stakes were high but the tone was set early on by Mark piston Garcia who scored a great solo try, fending off both Brantford and P.O.H players in the process. The intensity was kept to the maximum for the full 14 mins and the Brantford team were unable to deal with the pressure. P.O.H went on the win the game 24-7 and progress. It should be noted that Sherbrooke went on to win the Bowl, and Brantford to win the plate so P.O.H had faired extremely well to come through such a strong group, and well prepared for the next few crunch games.With only the group winners going through to the Cup, P.O.H went straight into the semi final slot and came up against another strong team from Long Island who we had identified earlier as one of the better pure sevens teams in the competition. Another high intensity games and two very good tries from captain Joey Garcia started the ball rolling well for P.O.H who characteristically got off to a strong start. P.O.H were 12 -5 up at half time but two late tries secured the victory and a place in the Cup final. In the final which took place on the main stadium pitch under floodlights P.O.H were faced with very strong opposition from Baltimore in the shape of the ‘Flagrant Fouls.’ A team made up of fully professional players from the US. From the outset it was clear that this would be a hard fought game with some huge tackles from Steve Ebbett and Charlie Lamb in particular. Good work and a nice inside ball from Jakey Coates set Mark Garcia away to score and take an early 7-0 lead. A long period of intense defence then followed and the drills from coach supreme Luke Stack clearly paid off. One moment in particular had the Flagrant Foul captain racing away to score before a final lunging tap tackle from Focker brought him down, followed by some unbelievable scramble defence. Eventually the pressure told and FF went through to score the equaliser bringing the score to 7-7 at the end of normal time.

Sudden death ensued and high pressure defence kept P.O.H in the game on multiple occasions. FF had one kick at goal in the first half of sudden death to win the match but the kick went thankfully wide and P.O.H continued to slog it out. In the second half of sudden death the P.O.H confidence started to come back and various breaks and could have produced winning scores. FF also had breaks of their own and the game was in a fine balance. With minutes to go, Rob Cottrell who had come on to replace his injured brother Gooch offered himself to the bench for some fresh legs in the way of Mark Breen, the babyfaced assasin. A kick from FF which could have ended the game (on the last play of the match before a coin toss) was caught by Jakey Coates who put Breen away on the wing from within his 22. Mark was tackled well, and in desperation threw the ball back to keep the play alive. The ball travelled through various sets of hands before Mark Garcia picked out his brother Joey Garcia who was drifting off the larger FF player in the middle of the field. Joey was away and with only a sweeper to beat stepped both ways before taking an inside line past the defender and running towards the posts. With nothing in the tank and while tackled by the scrambling defenders Joey found Mark Breen, aka Ole Gunner Breen on his inside and Ole was able to race away from the defenders and score a brilliant winning try. madness and tears followed the famous moment which will never be forgotten by all the players involved on that day. Well done everyone. A famous famous victory which meant P.O.H breaking it’s duck in the best way possible. YES WE CAN

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