LRUF Total Club Championship 2014

The LRUF’s Club Championship season has come to an end with the grand final being played on the 29th of November at Fouad Chehab stadium in Jounieh.

The season began back in September with the last hot days of summer in Sin el Fil as Graywolves, Beirut Phoenicians, Jounieh Spartans and Jamhour Black lions gathered together to kick off the championship. Over the last three months rugby union has been played on a weekly basis between these four clubs.

 The season saw Beirut Phoenicians and the Graywolves continue their historic rivalry leading to some top quality Lebanese Rugby taking place. Jamhour Black lions and the Jounieh Spartans also started a derby of their own as the 2014 season saw the Jounieh team grow into the game and challenge the well established Black lions. The reigning champions Beirut met their most tough adversary in the Graywolves, however despite strong performances from last year’s runners up, the Phoenicians managed to get through their first two clashes unscathed, continuing their yearlong unbeaten record. All this came to an end however in Round 8, as a well drilled Graywolves side over came their Phoenician rivals. For Jounieh the highpoint of the season came in their Round 6 clash with Jamhour which saw them leading the Black lions by 12 points at half time. If they had been able to hold onto their win it would have meant they would have notched an historic victory, however the Jamhour team rallied together to see of the Jounieh threat.

All this action was a preparation for the recent LRUF Total Club Championship Grand Final. A sizeable crowd gathered to watch the two derbies in one of Lebanon’s finest sporting facilities. The first game saw Jamhour return to their glory of past years with a running rugby spectacle against Jounieh Spartans. Laurent Zalloum and Jean Rmeily, senior players and bastions of the Black lions set up, were the main running force for Jamhour. However the young talent coming up through the ranks was also evident after building up all season, with winger Maurice Chamoun scoring a hat-trick for himself and Michael Kassatly, who has recently represented his country at U18 level, getting his name on the try sheet too. The final score was 69-0 to the Black lions.

The centre piece of the day was the 1st v 2nd Final between Graywolves and Beirut Phoenicians. The reigning champions Beirut took an early lead through the boot of captain Karim Jammal before getting onto the try sheet through Hassan Chahine after some top quality hands in the backline. Wael Harb, the talisman of the Graywolves side, notched a penalty to bring his side back into contention in the first half. However, before the half time whistle went Hazem al Tawil managed to finish a well worked move to score the Phoenicians second try. The second half was closer with Graywolves scoring two converted tries, one at the final play of the game, through Harb and Italian centre Carlo Giordani. However Beirut had largely secured the win when number 8 steam train Rudy Hachache picked up from the back of a maul to score his side’s third. After a break from scrumhalf Aidan Connolly and an offload to Yves Khoury, the second rower was able to put the outcome largely to rest. A tough physical game capped off a great season for both teams, both domestically and abroad as they both sent of players to compete in the Dubai 7s the following week.