Greater Tainan turned in a strong performance to lead their group at the Ministry of Education national rugby sevens tournament in Taipei City yesterday.
Their toughest match was against Taoyuan County, which came after they had seen off Taipei City 17-5 in the morning.
Chen Yi-jen (陳奕仁) scored the first try for Greater Tainan, running around the last defender in goal to make the conversion easier.
Taoyuan County struck back with a bulldozing run down the right flank by Chiang Chieh-yu (蔣捷宇), who scored in the corner and Li Yu-feng (李淯豐) stretched out for a try to take the lead after a series of offloads broke Tainan’s scrambling defense.
The lead changed again in the first half when Wu Wei-lun (吳韋侖) broke away and ran almost the length of the field, and the game looked settled after the break when Lin Chia-wei (林家偉) scooted 40m from a ruck to give Tainan a seven-point lead.
However, a sequence of penalties saw one Tainan player given a yellow card and Taoyuan scored, but missed the conversion from in front, which would have tied the match.
Even with six players, Tainan finished strongly with a break that almost brought another try before the match ended on a knock-on from Taoyuan.
Tainan coach Lin Yi-teh (林宜德) was happy with his side’s performance yesterday.
“Not bad,” he said when asked how they had played, adding: “I think we will do even better tomorrow [today].”
Jian Kuo High School old boy Jeff Lin watched the matches yesterday and picked Greater Tainan as the team to beat.
“They have a very strong side and will probably make the final,” he said.
Taipei City had a tougher time yesterday, losing matches to Greater Tainan, 5-17, and to Keelung, 10-19.
They started well against Keelung. Despite throwing away a certain try with a forward pass, they were first to post points from a quick tap after Keelung were caught offside. Keelung settled the game in the second half with three tries in as many minutes before Taipei City finished with a consolation score.
Taipei City captain Chen Haw-ming (陳浩銘) remained positive despite the losses, saying they would keep playing hard.
Eight teams — Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and Yilan County — played in two groups.
The semi-finals and finals are to be played today at the Bailing Riverside rugby fields in Shilin District, Taipei. The first semi-final starts at 10:30am, with the final set to kick off at 4pm.