Israel takes gold in rugby tournament

Australia, which won the gold at the 18th Maccabiah, gave a fight and played a persistent game, but it wasn’t enough against the Israeli players, who were very determined to win.

July 31, 2013 05:42
2 minute read.
THE ISRAELI and Australian rugby teams compete in the Maccabiah finals

Maccabiah rugby 370. (photo credit: Adi Jana)


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The rugby final between Israel and Australia was the last Maccabiah event,and took place on Monday evening.

About 2,500 spectators watched the game at the rugby stadium at the Wingate Institute. A big part of the crowd was wearing yellow, as half of the Australian delegation attended the game.

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Israeli fans came to support the local team and the game was conducted in a good atmosphere as the crowd got the chance to see a great game and an historic Israeli win in the rugby tournament.

In the first quarter, the teams were checking and feeling each other. But the game took a different direction as Ori Abutbul scored a penalty kick that gave Israel a 3-0 lead.

Eight minutes later, Australia was given the chance to tie the score with a penalty kick, but the kick was too short to the left.

Abutbul almost doubled the Israeli lead with his own penalty kick, but he missed.

Thirty-three minutes into the game the Australian defense enabled Daniel Palma to score a try (five points) and add two more points in a kick, As the first half ended, Israel was leading 10-0.

In the end of the third quarter, Australia could have scored another penalty kick, but missed again and the score remained 10-0 with 20 minutes left for the game.

In the fourth quarter, Israel was given another penalty kick. Abutbul was accurate and the lead of the blue-white team grew to 13-0, which was the final score of the game.

It was the first time ever that Israel won the gold medal in the rugby tournament.

Australia, which won the gold at the 18th Maccabiah, gave a fight and played a persistent game, but it wasn’t enough against the Israeli players, who were very determined to win.

Misha Eli won the MVP title.

Yonatan Kaplan ,32, the Israeli captain, was excited about the Israeli triumph.

“This is an unusual experience, our team always surprises me with new amazing accomplishment.”

Kaplan is proud of the determination and the strong character showed by his teammates. He said the quality level of the current games was high.

“We progressed a lot and gave a good show. I hope in the next games more teams will come because it’s an extraordinary event.”

He added “I want to thank the fans who came and cheered. We got support from the local fans and family, and this is not something obvious.”

Keith Friedlander ,27, the Australian captain, is here in his second Maccabiah. He came to give it all and defend the title of the 18th Maccabiah rugby champions. Although he failed in his mission, he was still very proud to participate in the games and being in Israel.

“I love visiting Israel every time and it’s always great to meet Jewish brothers on the pitch and outside. I congratulate Israel, the game had good atmosphere and they were a fine competitor.”

Friedlander summarized his Maccabiah experience by saying that like the rest of the Australian delegation, and probably all the athletes who participated, he can’t wait for the 20th Maccabiah in 2017.

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