14 May 2012

Saudi Arabian and Lebanese schools clashed at Bhamdoun Stadium in the 2012 under-14s MENA 9s Championship. The two-day event saw the top three schools from Saudi Arabia - American International School, British International School Jeddah and Jeddah Prep & Grammar - and the best from Lebanon - Emir Fakr El Dine, Namouzaj and Zeheriyeh Boys - battle it out in extremely hot conditions.

Reigning champions Emir Fakr El Dine were routed 22-0 by British International School Jeddah in the biggest surprise of opening round. In the second round the open nature of the competition was underlined by newcomers Namouzaj’s 12-10 victory over BISJ.

Namouzaj, British International School of Jeddah, Amer Fakr El Dine and American International School contested the semi finals, with BISJ leading the table on points difference from Namouzaj. Jeddah Prep & Grammar, with nine Saudi nationals in their squad, represented the growing appeal of rugby league among locals. Saudi vice-captain Ali Sawaf was instrumental in seeing British International School Jeddah through to the final, while the all Lebanese affair ended 0-0 at full time, with Namouzaj breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute of extra time.

The final was another intense encounter with British International School Jeddah dominating the early play with some fierce tackling led by Jad Bsesio and Camille El Abbas. Winger Fawaz Noibi powered over in the corner for his tenth try of the tournament to give his side a slight lead. With the last play of the half Namouzaj broke the line only to be hauled down inches short of the try line by Sawaf. The second half saw Namouzaj dominate possession but a rare knock on was seized upon by Noibi to score a length of the pitch solo effort that left his side in control.

The Player of the tournament went to Gonzalo Lecuona (British International School Jeddah) The Top Points Scorer was Fawaz Mansur-Niobi (British International School Jeddah).

The Championship winning squad was British International School Jeddah: Gonzalo Lecuona (c), Ali Al Sawaf(vc), Camille El Abbas, Jad Bsesio, Faisal El Essawi, Karim Safadi, Mohammed Nakuzi, Samy Shelbaya, Saleh Jundi, Rakan Mufti, Malek Moumne, Rashed Al Nasser, Fawaz Mansur-Niobi, Karim Farah

Pictured: MENA Regional Director Remond Safi hands the trophy to Gonzalo Lecuona of BISJ.