Force captain Kane Koteka lifted the Cup, scrumhalf Michael Ruru won Player of the Tournament and wing Brad Lacey scored the winning try in Mauritius as the Perth-based franchise consigned Aquis Brumbies to a second successive defeat in the World Club 10s final
June 19, 2016: Western Force upset hot favourites Aquis Brumbies 7-0 to win a gritty all-Australian showdown at the World Club 10s in Mauritius, where the Perth-based franchise condemned their Canberra rivals to a second successive final loss.
The Brumbies lost to New Zealand’s Blues in the inaugural edition in Singapore two years ago and finished second best again as winger Brad Lacey’s second-half try – converted by Player of the Tournament Michael Ruru – was enough for Force to edge a tightly fought contest at Anjalay Stadium.
Koteka was one of five contracted Super Rugby players in the Force squad, while the Brumbies boasted 15, including seven of the side that played in Singapore under Stephen Larkham.
However, Koteka had warned that his side could upset the favourites and his team duly delivered after withstanding consistent pressure in the first half and again after scoring early in the second half.
“It’s amazing to win, especially against a star-studded Brumbies team. We came in as underdogs and we didn’t mind that tag,” said the 22-year-old flanker, who played against Brumbies in his second Super Rugby game last year, eventually playing 10 times in his breakthrough season.
“We had a lot of belief in our own group and we never thought we were underdogs ourselves. We just played our own game and it came off. They were the favourites for the tournament and here was a lot of pressure on them. To go down must be pretty heartbreaking for them, but we’re just happy to get the win.”
Koteka was among those to praise the outstanding Ruru, who plays club rugby for Nedlands, but was touted by the club before the tournament as a potential match winner.
“I completely agree with Michael as Player of the Tournament,” Koteka said. “He’s had an awesome tournament. He was a game changer and I’m very proud to have him as part of the team. I think that he should definitely push for higher honours.”
The Kiwi played down his own performances, while praising the event, which was staged in Mauritius for the first time and is scheduled to return to the ‘paradise island’ in June 2017.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Ruru said. “I’ve never played 10-a-side before. It was always 15s and sevens. I thought tonight was a great game and I thought the whole weekend has been a great tournament, a very successful tournament. I’m just blessed and honoured to win this award.”
Head coach Dwayne Nestor, the club’s Academy coach, was among those unafraid to share his emotions after the victory.
“You have certain moments in life where a bubble comes up in your throat and tonight was one of those. I couldn’t have asked for more from the boys,” Nestor said.
“I think the desire to work for each other has become part of Western Force and I think that showed again tonight. We sort of joked that defence wins games in Super Rugby while you’ve got to go and outscore teams in 10-a-side, but I think we out-defended Brumbies tonight.”
Force crushed the Italian All Stars 29-0 in the semi-finals after the Brumbies came from behind to beat South Africa’s Cell C Sharks 7-5 following a try by the outstanding Aidan Toua and a decisive Robbie Coleman conversion.
The Sharks finished third after beating the Italian All Stars 26-7, while the star-studded Africa Pacific Dragons – beaten 12-7 by Force in the quarters – finished fifth by routing three-time European champions RC Toulon 43-0.
English champions Saracens, upset by Italian All Stars in the quarters after finishing top of Pool B on Saturday, finished seventh by crushing French invitational side Euskadi 43-0.
The 2016 World Club 10s was sponsored by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Beachcomber Hotels, Air Mauritius, Emtel, Pepsi, MC Vision, Ciel Group, Impact Productions, BRM (official watch), Samurai (official ball), City Sport, Otayo, Tropic Knits and Fortis Clinique Darné.
Owned and organised by Carinat Marketing, the tournament is sanctioned by World Rugby, Rugby Afrique, Rugby Union Mauritius and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Mauritius).
World Club 10s Mauritius
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Quarter-final: Aquis Brumbies (AUS) 43-5 Euskadi (FRA)
Quarter-final: Western Force (AUS) 12-7 Africa Pacific Dragons
Quarter-final: Saracens (ENG) 0-17 Italian All Stars
Quarter-final: Cell C Sharks (RSA) 26-7 RC Toulon (FRA)
Bowl Semi-final: Euskadi (FRA) 7-24 RC Toulon (FRA)
Bowl Semi-final: Africa Pacific Dragons 33-7 Saracens (ENG)
Cup Semi-final: Aquis Brumbies (AUS) 7-5 Cell C Sharks (RSA)
Cup Semi-final: Western Force (AUS) 29-0 Italian All Stars
Shield Final: Saracens (ENG) 43-0 Euskadi (FRA)
Bowl Final: Africa Pacific Dragons 43-0 RC Toulon (FRA)
Plate Final: Cell C Sharks (RSA) 26-7 Italian All Stars
Cup Final: Western Force (AUS) 7-0 Aquis Brumbies (AUS)
Saturday, June 18, 2016
RC Toulon (FRA) 10-15 Aquis Brumbies (AUS)
Italian All Stars 0-38 Western Force (AUS)
RC Toulon (FRA) 31-12 Italian All Stars
Aquis Brumbies (AUS) 19-10 Western Force (AUS)
Italian All Stars 0-40 Aquis Brumbies (AUS)
Western Force (AUS) 19-7 RC Toulon (FRA)
Standings: 1. Aquis Brumbies (AUS) 6 pts; 2. Western Force (AUS) 4 pts; 3. RC Toulon (FRA) 2 pts; 4. Italian All Stars 0 pts
Cell C Sharks (RSA) 14-10 Africa Pacific Dragons
Euskadi (FRA) 5-21 Saracens (ENG)
Cell C Sharks (RSA) 40-0 Euskadi (FRA)
Africa Pacific Dragons 17-19 Saracens (ENG)
Euskadi (FRA) 0-43 Africa Pacific Dragons
Saracens (ENG) 12-7 Cell C Sharks (RSA)
Standings: 1. Saracens (ENG) 6 pts; 2. Cell C Sharks (RSA) 4 pts; 3. Africa Pacific Dragons 2 pts; 4. Euskadi (FRA) 0 pts