As we approach the final days of the 2017 International Cup, all the teams gathered in Royal Park today to compete in the semi-finals of Round 4. As usual, it was a mixed day of victories and defeats for our 8 European teams, with 3 teams progressing through to their respective Grand Finals.
The French Coqs kicked off Round 4 nice and early with their match on McAlister Oval against the USA. The Coqs fought hard to the end but couldn’t overcome a strong USA side, leading them to a 132-19 defeat at the hands of the Americans. France applied plenty of defensive pressure to the USA side in the first half of the game but fell short of earning their first victory of the tournament.
The Great Britain Bulldogs faced up to Fiji this morning in their final group stage match in the Men’s 1st Division. The Bulldogs got the ball rolling early in the first quarter with a strong wind blowing in their favour, but their performance didn’t slip when they had to face the other end of the pitch in the second quarter. The Bulldogs managed to keep their lead throughout the match in a fast flowing second half, before taking out the with a 56-27 win over Fiji.
The Irish Warriors have had their Grand Final hopes shattered today in a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of a highly fancied New Zealand side. The match had a grand final atmosphere to it and the two teams proved why they’ve earned the top two ladder positions in a game that was evenly matched from the first bounce. The Warriors played their hearts out but a kick after the siren saw New Zealand take out the match with a 4 point victory. Ireland will now have to face up against the USA on Friday in a battle for 3rd place in the IC17 Men’s Division 1 Competition.
The European Crusaders have accomplished a personal team goal today when they scored their first point of the tournament in their match against Fiji. The Crusaders were always expecting a tough match after seeing Fiji put the GB Swans to the test last week, but managed to hold their own and Fiji’s points were hard fought. Despite going down by 87 points the Crusaders showed plenty of improvement in working as a team and will use this to their advantage when they go up against Pakistan on Friday.
The German Eagles were back to their winning ways today when they took down the China Dragons in what was possibly their strongest match of the tournament so far. The Eagles were strong across the board from the get go and their Chinese opponents had plenty of trouble handling their on point marking and clean kicks. Germany held a 12 point lead at half time and were determined not to let anything slide, and after a stellar performance in the second half took home a 50-22 victory over China.
The Irish Banshees have once again earned themselves a place in the Women’s Division Grand Final at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, after a hard fought victory over the Great Britain Swans this afternoon. GB held the lead right up until the final quarter, when the Banshees kicked things up a notch and kicked a further two goals. When the final siren sounded the scoreboard read 23-15 in favour of the Banshees, meaning that they will now face off against Canada for the championship title while GB will take on the USA on Friday to battle it out for the 3rd place position.
The Croatian Knights have earned their spot in the Men’s Division 2 Final on Friday and will face up against fellow Euro team, the German Eagles, after a glorious win over Japan this afternoon. The Croatians expected to be tested by the speed and agility of the Japanese but used their size and strength to their advantage to take home a 66-1 win. The Knights powerful playing style kept their opponents goalless the entire match and allowed them to kick their way into Friday’s Grand Final.
For full match reports, click the links below.
The Irish Warriors vs New Zealand Semi Final match report will be published tomorrow.