Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cup hangs in the balance




Cup hangs in the balance

Cup hangs in the balance

110729_18
A Cambodian player tries to bring down a Laos player with the ball during their Mekong Cup first leg at Old Stadium on July 17.

The Cambodian rugby team flew to Vientiane yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s all-or-nothing second leg of their home-and-away series in Division V of the Asian 5 Nations against Laos, with the prestigious Mekong Cup at stake.

The Cambodian side ran into a few injury worries in the back of the pack during their sensational comeback on July 17, when they were just two points shy at the wire in a pulsating 21-19 finish.

According to team management, those niggles have been sorted and the team is in the best of shape and raring to go.

Cambodia coach Richard Flann-agan squarely blamed the home-game loss on a string of first-half penalties Laotian kicker Chris Mastoglio ruthlessly converted.

Laos coach Ian McLeish lavished praise on the Koupreys for a stirring late charge that included scrum half Phorn Bophan’s daring dash to the line for a five-pointer in the dying minutes of the game.

“The team is looking forward to this trip, and it’s great experience to play in an international venue,” Flannagan told the Post yesterday.

“We have to win by at least a three-point margin. It is possible. Winning, and bringing the Cup home, is a very realistic target.”

Laos will again be relying on full- back Chalenunesouk Anousith to crack the Cambodian firewall and produce the random break-ins he is feared for.

Mastoglio is the key man for Laos when it comes to keeping the scoreboard ticking with penalties and conversions, or in creating openings with intelligent cross-field kicks.

Fullback Nhab Rotha, whose first-half try at home took everyone – including the opposition – by surprise, could well be a central figure in Cambodia’s hit squad.

Phorn Bophan, known for his sudden surprises, is also a player to watch.

Pich Ratana’s kicking skills will be put to the test, and the Koupreys need him more than ever to deliver the goods tomorrow.

An exciting game is in prospect at 5pm at the Chao Anouvong Stadium, and the wafer-thin two-point lead that Laos enjoy will just add to the tension.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to