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Sunday, October 22 2017 @ 09:49 AM ACDT

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Traditional rivals, different code

International Cup 2017
Just a week after their last match together a quirk in the way the playoffs fell meant Pakistan faced off against India again in the IC17 Men's Division final round.  The tone of the match was set by the traditional rivalry between Pakistan and India that we typically see on the cricket pitch. In this case they have swapped the bat and ball for an oval shaped ball but the intensity and aggression was still evident during play.
 
The teams' respective national anthems played as the sun shone down on them in what was calmer conditions compared to earlier that morning. The Pakistan Mens Shaheens were joined by the Women Shaheens for the national anthem which added a unified addition to their line up.
 
Pakistan came out in dominant fashion in the first quarter, they constantly launched the ball forward, deep into their forward 50m and their roving from ruck contests was at a semi-elite level, proving that they also dominated hitouts as well as possession. The first goal of the match came against the run of play with India’s Darius Fernandes (#12) being awarded a free kick for a push in the back 15m out, directly in front. India looked very controlled with their ball movement in contrast to Pakistan’s getting it forward at all cost, which finally paid off with two goals coming from their impressive roving skills from Kashif Khan (#7) and Takashi (#35) both snapping for goal and using the breeze to their advantage. Whilst in the last two minutes of the quarter Muqeet Qureshi (#4) pounced on the loose ball in the forward pocket, wheeled around and snapped a bouncing goal on his right boot.
 
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Late Vonu blitz snuffs out Flames

International Cup 2017
It was a cold windy winter's morning in Melbourne for the Women’s clash between Fiji Vonu and Papua New Guinea Flames at Royal Park – McAlister Oval. The winner would claim 5th spot and the loser 6th spot in the IC17 Women's Division.
 
The first term was tight and scrappy with neither team able to gain clear possession in the centre. It wasn't until halfway through the first that Fiji Vonu was able to get on top in the centre over the Flames. Fiji Vonu had lots of inside 50s towards the end of the first, but the Flames defence held up well with great interception marks in their defensive 50. Both teams were goalless at quarter time with Vonu the only team able to score, managing two points and keep the Flames scoreless.  Given the extreme pressure Fiji has exerted even on the top teams this was no surprise.
 
 
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Game of historic firsts as Europeans score first win by defeating Pakistan

International Cup 2017

The Europeans Crusaders have won their first match and the Pakistan Shaheens have left it until the last minute to ICe their first IC goal

The battle for 7th and 8th spot in the Women's Division kicked off under an overcast sky and as assured by the Melbourne locals, a typical bitter wind. With Linn Gardell in ruck and kicking with the wind the Crusaders were quick to attack and push the ball into their forward line and confidence took a huge leap when Berengere Portal drilled the Crusaders' first International Cup major. Using the wind to their advantage the Crusaders kept the ball in their forward half and peppered the goals, Mathilde Coombes slotting the Crusaders' second IC goal.

First Quarter Scores: Crusaders 2-5 (17) Shaheens 0-0 (0)

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Ireland Warriors put disappointment aside to demonstrate their class against gallant Revos

International Cup 2017
2017 International Cup Round 5
Royal Park, Melbourne
Friday 18th August. 2.15pm

Men’s Division 1   U.S.A. Revolution   Vs  Ireland Warriors

Playoff for positions 3 & 4.
 
The men’s division has been a tight affair with one of the grand final place being decided by percentage.  It could easily have been these two teams in the big dance. A marking infringement saw New Zealand kick a goal after the siren for them to qualify for the Grand Final and in doing so PNG moved into the Grand Final on percentage and eliminated Ireland. So close.
 
Both the U.S.A. Revolultion and the Ireland Warriors play a similar style of football and have the same profile of players. This contest on paper was impossible to pick a winner. The Warriors had the experience of previous International Cup appearances as well as European Cup appearances.  Many of the Revolution players lacked international contests but their tall team had garnered impressive wins except for against PNG.
 
Ireland was probably favourite going into this game. They had defeated the PNG Mosquitos in round one and had only lost to New Zealand with the final kick of the day in round four. The U.S.A. has had a slightly easier run with the draw but was beaten comprehensively by the Mosquitos in round three.  Overall  the Revos have seen another big improvement in standard. They’ve improved over and above other teams that have also improved. But the Warriors' team always consist of a totally competitive unit.
 
 
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Chiefs secure 5th in mid table war of attrition against the Great Brits

International Cup 2017

The Division One 5th place playoff with the two mid table sides – each having won 2 and lost 2 – perhaps the prediction might be a drawn match. The Brits two losses were to Canada and Ireland while wins achieved over South Africa and Fiji. The Nauru Chiefs ran into the brick wall of the NZ Hawks on day 1 and subsequently scored wins over Canada and France while falling short against PNG after a horrible first quarter at Sebastopol in Ballarat. The Brits take in the height advantage while the Chiefs prefer to open out the play and use the ball with precision both by hand and foot. The weather would play it’s part in this game – as the first half was played in real wintry Melbourne conditions. Suddenly at half time – out came the sun. The wind though – was a constant. This was a hard and physical game that saw the Chiefs have to work overtime to finally kick clear after half time - the Brits at the main break could taste a defining victory but in the end - it went the way that these contests have in the past.

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China's Lucky 8's get them over the line

International Cup 2017

On a frosty, early morning both the Dragons and Samurais were out warming up, full of energy despite the cold conditions. The strong gusts of wind whipped across the ground that had potential to make kicking a challenge today.

Japan and China came into this match with a 2-1 record in their sections and losses in their semi finals.  This meant they were playing off for 3rd and 4th place in Division 2. 

Being the highest ranked Asian nations in the International Cup, the title for the match 'The Battle for Asia' was being thrown around in the crowd.


 

 

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IC Round 5 Royal Park wrap up

International Cup 2017

Round 5 Grading matches and the Division 2 Grand Final were played at Royal Park today.

It was four seasons in a day (well maybe not summer) but sunshine, wind and rain all played a part.

Harley Vague quickly summarised today's matches before putting on the glad rags and heading to the gala.

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North Wind blew and North Wind sink the Fiji Tribe

International Cup 2017

The Division One battle for 7th place promised a mighty battle between two sides that had tasted victory just once each across the tournament. Both sides had put up fighting efforts and while Fiji were favourites against 2011 rivals the French Les Coqs for the Tribe’s only win, the Canadians perhaps pinched one to get over Great Britian in the school round. Ironically both sides performed almost identically against the unbeaten NZ Hawks – produced a goal each in total as arguably the tournament favourites exerted their will.

The fifth game for each team - in 2 weeks - as the Canadian coach put it before the game "I know you're sore, they're sore too - who's tougher?" The final Friday asks more of many players than they imagined they could draw upon - as evenly matched opponents produce some of the most entertaining and fiercely fought matches of the tournament. And not letting anyone down - this match went down to the wire.

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GB Swans take third place with Hocking the hero

International Cup 2017
The GB Swans have had a rapid rise to fame in International Cup terms.  Finishing strongly in the last quarter of today’s match to take third place in the Women’s Division. The Americans, much more established and of enough depth to bring two squads to Australia will be disappointed with their fourth place finish after a loss to the International Cup newcomers.
 
The match began in very ordinary weather with a strong wind blowing across the ground with some rain mixed in for good measure. The GB Swans suffered an early blow with Ellie Sutherland being carried off with what looked like a bad ankle injury.
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Croatian Knights' dominant forward line shine in Men's Div 2 Final

International Cup 2017

Croatia are Division 2 Premiers for the 2017 International Cup, after running away with a convincing 66-point win over Germany in the final at Royal Park today.

The Germans were in the contest for the first half, before Croatia's big forwards wore them down in the third, then completely blew the game apart in the final term.

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South Africa take the points in battle for Div 1 pride

International Cup 2017

The Division One wooden spoon battle – or the fight for 9th place – sees two sides that have had a tough time of it over the previous two weeks. South Africa Lions with just the one hard fought win a week earlier under lights in Geelong against Fiji. Meanwhile Les Coqs Français have been outgunned in each game, although have flown the flag valiantly and not failed to score at least 2 goals in any of their outings.

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IC17 Round 5 Live Scores

International Cup 2017

Live scores updated 1/4 by 1/4 across Round 5, Finals, Friday 18th August, 2017 International Cup at Royal Park, Melbourne, Australia

Refresh page for updates.

Also note the AFL are live streaming most matches here.

Note the Men's Division 1 grand final NZ vs PNG is at the MCG tomorrow (11:15am Saturday 19th August)

Note the Women's grand final Canada vs Ireland is at Etihad Stadium tomorrow (4:30pm Saturday 19th August)

 

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