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Stade Khmer turn tables on Knights

Stade Khmer turn tables on Knights

Dramatic last-minute try completes 21-14 comeback win for Stade Khmer Sunday

CENTRE Koeun Sangsa's 40-metre dash for a try at the final whistle gave Stade Khmer a thrilling 21-14 victory over Phnom Penh rival Sisowath Knights in a Cambodia Rugby Premiership match Sunday afternoon at the Phnom Penh Old Stadium.

Stade Khmer took possession in the closing seconds after fielding a Sisowath kick, and on third-phase ball, Koeng Sangsa took a quick pass off a ruck and eluded three would-be Sisowath tacklers on his way to the line.

"It was a bloody shame to lose like that," remarked Sisowath coach Brian Thomas. "The lads worked hard all day, and we pretty much controlled the ball the entire match. But they [Stade Khmer] made the most of their opportunities, and I'm afraid we didn't."

Sisowath jumped out to an early lead with flyhalf Tyler Jellison taking a pass off a five-metre scrum before diving in for the try in the 12th minute. Number 8 Sam West's successful conversion kick made it 7-0, the score remaining the same until halftime.

Stade Khmer answered back in the second period with two quick tries to take a 14-7 lead. Centre Mathias Peralta scored from 15 metres off a lineout in the 45th minute, while lock Soza Ny picked up a loose ball five minutes later, sprinting in untouched from 30 metres out. Winger Kong Vandy made good on both conversion kicks.

But the Knights were far from finished as they repeatedly moved down the field, continually keeping the ball alive as they charged at the Stade Khmer defence.  

Good defence keeps it close

The Stade Khmer defence bent but didn't break as it rebuffed repeated Sisowath efforts to cross the try line.

Sisowath finally touched down in the 58th minute, fullback Dave Friedberg taking a ball off a maul 10 metres out that he ran in for a try.

West successfully converted to tie the score at 14-14.

The final 20 minutes saw some hard tackling on both sides, with neither team able to gain much of an offensive advantage until the dying moments when a Sisowath kick led to Koeng Sangsa's game-winning try.

Afterwards, Stade Khmer flyhalf Francois Bleriot praised his team's resilience.   

"We never gave up, and we ran hard and tackled hard," said Bleriot. "It was a tough, hard match, which is good experience for our Khmer players."

With the win, Stade Khmer improve their record in the Cambodian Rugby Premiership to three wins and two losses while the Sisowath Knights fall to two wins and four losses.  

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