| Action in the India versus Chinese Taipei rugby match at CC&FC Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta, June 28: India’s debut as the venue for an international rugby match ended in a 10-61 defeat for the home team, against a faster and fitter Chinese Taipei, in the Asian Region IRB quadrangular meet tie at the CC&FC on Saturday. The Telegraph was one of the sponsors of the match.
India’s campaign in the inaugural edition of the meet thus came to an end, with three defeats in three matches (the earlier matches being against Singapore and Malaysia in Singapore), but the captain insisted the performance has been far from disgraceful.
“We hardly play 15s at the international level, forget taking on teams of such calibre (Chinese Taipei is ranked third in Asia). We played with passion and this tournament has helped us believe that we can be competitive, against really strong teams,” said Chaitanya Sinh.
India didn’t start badly and took the lead in the third minute when Emil Vartazarian converted a penalty. Exchanges were fairly even in the first half, but the visitors proved decisively better on the counters and the speed.
Slipping the odd man in front after the initial build-ups that always took the Indian defence by surprise, Chinese Taipei seemed to have a better knowledge of the shortest and swiftest route to the line. They scored from both flanks, and often beat the Indian defence for sheer pace.
Chi Ming Tu and Chih Wei Wu scored three tries each. Their team converted just three of the 11 tries. Cheng Ju Wu, Ching Fing Chang, Cheng Yew Sun, Wei Cheng Chang and Yen Kuang Lin got the other tries. Wei converted twice with Chi converting one.
India managed just one try, in the 38th minute, when Sinh set up Nasser Hussain. City player Supratik Sen, who replaced an injured Vartazarian in the 31st minute, made no mistake with the conversion. The first half ended 32-10 and it was all Chinese Taipei after the break.
THE INDIAN TEAM: Minal Pastala (Choaspur Ali, 75), Munir Merchant, Andrew Grierson (Pravin Khuralkar, 79), Todd Lauchlam, Atul Galagoda, Sailesh Devrukhkar, Faisal Siddiqui (Jeet Akoijan, 63), Mathew Todd (Puneet Kumar, 41), Mukkiaram Fazullabhoy (Narendra Ghate, 63), Chaitanya Sinh, Ganesh Sawant (Jaspreet Singh, 74), Rayomond Jeejeebhoy, Nasser Hussain, Gangadhar Rane, Emil Vartazarian (Supratik Sen, 31).