Rugby: Israel taught a tough French lesson at Ayelet Games

Over the weekend more than 1,500 participants, aged from 11 to 60, competed in a whole range of non-Olympic sports.

rugby player 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
rugby player 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The Israel national women's rugby team battled with some of the best young players France has to offer at the Ayelet Games, a competition for non-Olympic sports, in Eilat this weekend. Although Israel lost two one-sided encounters on Saturday, 42-0 and 36-0, and the team clearly has a lot to learn, the spirit of the event exemplified the atmosphere throughout the three-day Games. Over the weekend more than 1,500 participants, aged from 11 to 60, competed in a whole range of sports. The women's rugby was played alongside a men's competition at the Eilat Stadium which also hosted a tug of war event and girls softball. On a sandy pitch next to the Stadium the Ra'anana cricket team played against Eilat A and B while up the road at Kibbutz Eilot a group of American football teams battled for first place. The beach close by saw dozens of people of all ages compete in the sport of Patanq - French beach bowls. Martial arts were also involved, with competitors enjoying Kickboxing, Ju Jitsu and Karate. Other sports included ten pin bowling, water skiing, squash, bridge and ball room dancing. The French rugby team came from the Essonne region south of Paris. Their speed and agility showed up the slower and less experienced Israelis. However, French coach Andre Adope said he thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and would have no qualms about returning to Israel for another tournament. "It was great here. We have had a good training camp," he said. "I think the Israeli team needs to improve in their running and tackling but they have some very good players." Before playing the Israeli national team on Saturday, the French took part in a mini tournament , competing against teams from Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The team from Essonne easily won all four of their games and the only try scored against them was touched down by South African Bronwyn Manning of the Jerusalem Lions. "It felt so good to score the try," Manning said. "I couldn't believe that they didn't stop me. I just kept running and when I got tackled next to the try line I managed one extra push to put the ball over." The cricketers competed under extremely hot conditions all of Friday and Saturday with Ra'anana taking first place. Reacting to the results, Ra'anana captain Steven Shein said: "I'm on top of the world." Ayelet Chairman Arik Caplan was delighted with the way the games went. "It was very hot, much hotter than we expected, but it was a very big festival of sport and I think that was always the most important thing - that people enjoyed themselves at the same time as competing," he said.