Israel’s national rugby team beat Greece 39-0 in Netanya.
By ALLON SINAI
Israel’s national rugby team advanced to the FIRA-AER Division 3B for the first time in its history on Saturday, thrashing Greece 39-0 in Netanya.Some 1,000 fans attended the match at Wingate Institute and saw Israel take the lead in the 15th minute thanks to captain Nimrod Kaplan’s try.The hosts continued to pull ahead in the remainder of the first half, leading 22-0 at the break. The Greeks, guided by French legend Olivier Magne, had no answer to Israel’s superiority in the second half as well, and the hosts cruised to a memorable victory.FIRA-AER is the European branch of the International Rugby Association. Israel has been a long-time competitor in the sport and has been playing in Division 3C for the past number of years.“We made history,” said Israel coach Ra’anan Pen, whose team secured its place in Division 3B with two games to play.“Ididn’t think it would be so easy, but we must have been ready. I willlet my young players take part in the remaining qualifiers so they cangain experience.”Israel, which is ranked number 79 in theworld, will wrap-up its qualifying campaign with road matches againstLuxembourg and Finland.“The fans were amazing and it was apleasure,” Kaplan said. “We were ready and the final result shows wewere the far better team. The sky is now the limit and we are planningon progressing another division next year.”
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