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Rugby leagues reach finales

22 rugby team

The Cambodian Federation of Rugby wraps up another exciting season with an action-packed finals day at the Old Stadium on Sunday.

Kicking off at 9am with some grassroots fun and games for the kids of their development program, some of whom will be joining the league next season, a series of six title deciders will find champions of the various leagues, culminating in the grand final of the senior men’s division between Sisowath Knights and Stade Khmer.

The 4pm kick-off sees the Knights attempt to defend their 2012 crown against a Stade Khmer team who will look to spring a surprise on opponents that have trounced them twice during the campaign.

The champions enjoyed a perfect six wins from six games and are heavy favourites to triumph on Sunday, but Stade Khmer’s record of three victories and three losses, including a last gasp kick from Alexis Chevalier that clinched their March 23 tie against PSE Garudas, should offer some resistance.

“We know that Stade Khmer will be tough to beat, and a lot of us were on hand to watch Alexis win their final match with that great kick from the sideline, so we know discipline against these guys will be key as he can knock them over from anywhere,” Knights captain Luke Wilkie told the Post.

“That being said, we take confidence in our performances all season, and if we can play the game at our speed and in our style then we should go alright.

“We have seen some tough games and some players have suffered season-ending injuries which is unfortunate, but our team is very excited about making the final again and we will be looking to finish on a high.”

Stade Khmer’s Jean-Baptiste Suberbie noted how the club had been improving throughout the rounds.

“We take confidence in the fact that each game we have played in we have got better; we look for this pattern to continue on Sunday. Our young squad will enjoy the experience,” he said.

Suberbie singled out one such young player for praise. “Chai Ly, playing his first year of senior rugby, has come on in leaps and bounds. He is hard-working and enthusiastic and really deserves a chance to play in a big match like this.”

Knights coach Dan Wetherall, meanwhile, reflected on their strength from a core of veteran expatriate players.

“While I am happy for all the guys [to make the final], I am really excited for some of the long-serving Knights, who have put in all season and made this team a really strong unit,” he told the Post.

“Luke [Wilkie], Rowdie Loughlin, Owen Williams, Richie Flanagan – and I could go on. A few of them are leaving after this season so I would hope the team can send them out as they deserve.”

Before the resolution of the senior men’s league, five other finals will play out at Old Stadium.

At 10:20am, ASPECA face PSE for bragging rights in the U11 league. LFRD take on another ASPECA side in the U13 decider from 10:45am.

At 11:10am, the women’s league witnesses a conc-luding battle between LFRD and PSE.

After a short break for lunch, the action resumes at 1:30pm with the U17 final featuring LFRD/ASPECA and PSE, and then ASPECA and PSE sides will decide the U15 competition from 2:30pm.

Entry to the stadium is free, and organisers are encouraging spectators to bring their own food and drink due to limited catering at the ground.

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