'Out of shape' defending champs thrash Stade Khmer
Defending champions PSE Garudas win a line-out during their match against Stade Khmer at Phnom Penh's Old Stadium on Sunday. PSE Garudas won the Cambodian rugby season's opening match 27-0.
LOCK Yun Sopha scored two tries to lead the PSE Garudas to a 27-0 victory over Stade Khmer in the opening match of the 2008-09 Cambodia Rugby Premiership on Sunday afternoon at the Phnom Penh Old Stadium.
The Garudas, an all-Khmer side and defending Premiership champions, dominated play from the opening kickoff, controlling the ball and spending most of their time in Stade Khmer territory.
Yun Sopha opened the scoring at the three-minute mark, taking a quick pass off a ruck and sprinting in from 10 metres for the try. Flyhalf Pich Ratana succeeded with the conversion, making the score 7-0.
The Garudas then took advantage of their superior speed and quickness with some hard running and nifty passing, as flanker Out Vuthy barreled in for the score off a tap-and-go from five metres, giving his side a 12-0 advantage in the 19th minute.
Centre Nheb Rata added to the scoring five minutes later by taking a pass off a scrum and shrugging off three would-be tacklers from 17 metres out, making it 17-0. Pich Ratana delivered on his second conversion, upping the advantage to 19-0.
Pich Ratana then capped off the first-half scoring with a penalty kick from 22 metres just before the break, giving the Garudas a 22-0 lead.
The pace of the match slowed down considerably in the second half as the Stade Khmer defence stiffened a bit, denying the Garudas a number of scoring opportunities.
Yun Sopha finished the day's scoring at the 50-minute mark as he dove into the corner of the goal for his second try of the afternoon, taking a pass off a tap-and-go from eight metres.
Stade Khmer, a side comprised of a mixture of local Khmer players and French expatriates, were unable to muster much of an offensive attack in the 80 minutes of play.
Captain Romain Lalouette felt his team suffered due to a lack of possession.
You can't do it against these khmer guys - they're just too fast and quick.
"We just lost a lot of ball, that was it - that was the difference in the match," he said.
"You can't do it against these Khmer guys - they're just too fast and quick."
Garudas skipper Pich Ratana was pleased with his team's victory but saw a lot of room for improvement.
"We ran well early and put pressure on them from the start," he said. "We had good support in our passing, but our technique was only so-so.
"We can play well, but we need to get fitter. It showed in the second half when we slowed down. We had no gas left."
Four teams in third year
Now in its third year, the Cambodia Rugby Premiership is being organised by the Cambodian Federation of Rugby.
RUGBY SEASON SCHEDULE
PSE Garudas v Stade Khmer
Stade Khmer v Sisowath Knights
PSE Garudas v Sisowath Knights
Stade Khmer v Siem Reap
PSE Garudas v Siem Reap
Siem Reap v Sisowath Knights
Sisowath Knights v PSE Garudas
Siem Reap v Stade Khmer
Sisowath Knights v Stade Khmer
Siem Reap v PSE Garudas
Sisowath Knights v Siem Reap
PSE Garudas v Sisowath Knights
The competition, which runs until April, features three teams from Phnom Penh - PSE Garudas, Stade Khmer, Sisowath Knights - and a team from Siem Reap.
Matches will be played in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, with the Grand Final slated for April 5 in Phnom Penh.
Premiership action continues on December 14 when Stade Khmer take on crosstown rivals the Sisowath Knights at Old Stadium.