Malta Rugby takes on Switzerland

Friday, April 5, 2013, 18:47

Malta and Switzerland meet on Saturday at Hibs Ground with a World Cup Qualifier place up for grabs, to decide who will move into position to challenge for the playoffs. Switzerland come off a number of excellent performances in recent months, buoyed by new French coaching staff and good results, with a point to prove against Malta who are
currently ranked 39th in world rugby, Malta’s highest ever position within the sport.

On Thursday the team received a surprise visit by Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sports Rt. Hon. Stefan Buontempo, who met with the team and wished
them well for the upcoming match.

Joint Team Manager Danny Sacco said, “Parliamentary Secretary Buontempo has helped raise the spirit in the camp with this visit, the team genuinely appreciated his heartfelt words of support, and we’re glad that Malta Rugby continues to enjoy this kind of interest at every level. There’s a feel-good factor in the camp right now.”

Team Manager Steve Busuttil also welcomed the visit but urged caution, “I have a huge amount of respect for the Swiss, because it’s a rivalry situation with particularly high stakes, a Rugby World Cup playoff place, and I’m absolutely sure that Switzerland will step up ready to play an expansive game, and we beat them in Switzerland, so I’m sure they’ll be ready to try and return the favour against us on Saturday.”

Malta’s play has been on a steady climb for the last 5 years under National Coach and Director of Rugby Damian Neill. Neill says, “I really think the way the guys are playing right now, and the way all the players have integrated during this week’s camp, we’ve talked about it all week, we’re playing to a game plan and if we do what we need to do we’ll be highly competitive. Switzerland deserve all our respect, they’ve had some very impressive results recently.”

With both teams playing for a possible World Cup Qualifying berth, the stakes are indeed high, and both teams are very highly motivated by the pot of gold at the end of the Rugby World Cup rainbow.

Malta’s coach has called together a 26-man elite squad which includes three new faces, namely Patrick Martin, John Ellul and Edward Attard. Kyle Mason, who turned out for the English navy on Wednesday, joined the squad on Thursday. Mason has been selected to play at Twickenham in 2 weeks time for the navy against the army in front of 60,000 fans. Sam Borg finally joins the squad, after a series of injuries has kept the Stompers’ Captain on the sidelines for previous internationals.

“Fortunately the players in our squad are in good shape thanks to our physio Steven Cilia, and hopefully we will remain free of injuries over the next two weeks,” Neill said. “In the past 12
months, the team has improved significantly and the players are keen to leave their mark for the national side, when they pull on that jersey they don’t just become Malta rugby players,
they become Malta, one with the crowd, let’s hope that the stands are filled to the rafters with supporters on Saturday.”

Coach Damien Neill has assembled a crack coaching and management squad to guide the National Rugby Team and this includes Assistant Coaches Tony Garrett and Noel Thomas,
Video/Game Analyst Marc Carter, as well as the two team managers, a structure that is helping to generate confidence for the players, with two hard matches to face, first Switzerland today and then Holland next Saturday in Amsterdam.

Malta Rugby is supported by Cisk Lager, Mediterranean Bank, GasanMamo who are helping to develop the next generation of Malta Rugby players, Bortex Fine Tailoring, Intercontinental
Malta, Sundreams Travel, LH&A, PWC and Melita. The Institute of Computer Education, ICE Malta, are a supporting sponsor for the upcoming international Malta’s World Cup Qualifier match against Switzerland will take place at the Hibernians Football Stadium on April 6, kick-off at 2.00pm. For further information visit or call 9988 1266.

The squad
Kyle Mason, Adam Kennedy, Alistair Livesey, Clayton Cassar, Darren Deguara, Luke Watts, Sam Borg, Daniel Apsee, Thomas Holloway, Robert Holloway, Vince Stivala, Dominic Busuttil,
Toby Quarendon, Matthew Camilleri, James O’Brien, Daniel Holliday, Dragan Cerketa, Christian Schranz, Joseph Cutajar, James Morris, Nicholas Wright, Malcolm Attard.

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