Qatar eye tri-nations title at home event

 14 Apr 2016 - 0:01

Qatar eye tri-nations title at home event
FROM LEFT: General Manager of IEC Joe Karrat, Qatar National Rugby captain Tom Featherstone, Qatar Rugby Federation (QRF) Team Manager Hamad Anbar Abdulla, General Manager Copthorne Hotel Kabalan Frangieh QRF Senior Coordinator Samuel Rico, pose for a picture after a press conference in Doha yesterday. The Qatar Rugby Federation will host the tri-nations Asia Rugby Championship Division III from April 16.  RIGHT: Qatar national team training at Aspire Zone ahead of the championship. Besides hosts Qatar, Iran and Lebanon are the other teams taking part in the championship.


Doha: The Qatar Rugby Federation will host the tri-nations Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) Division III at the Aspire warm up and purpose built rugby track from April 16,  it was announced here yesterday.
The national rugby teams of Lebanon and Iran will be in Doha for the competition in hope of claiming the ARC Division III title.
The championship is organised by Qatar Rugby Federation (QRF) in cooperation with Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC)
The first match of the competition will see Qatar battling with peninsula friends Iran on April 16. The match is scheduled to start at 6pm.
Three days later, on April 19, Iran will be involved in the second match this time against Middle East counterparts Lebanon. The match will start at 7pm.
On April 22, Qatar will slug it out with Lebanon for the tournament’s final match. The match is scheduled for a 6pm start.
The last nine weeks Qatar Sevens Rugby has dominated the rugby headlines but now rugby XV’s much to the delight of many has the front page. This tournament is open to extra participants (15 players) many of whom Sevens excludes due to their bulky and heavy frames.
This will be the first time the Asia Rugby Championship will be played in Doha since it changed its name from the HSBC Asian 5 Nations in 2015. 
Qatar made an impact in its debut at the A5N in 2011 Division IV beating Lebanon and Jordan for the championship in Dubai.  In the 2013 A5N held in Kuala Lumpur, Qatar crushed China 76 – Nil and overcame a strong Guam 13 -7 to win the finals.
In 2014, the A5N was held in Qatar at the Al Arabi Stadium. Qatar beat Thailand and Iran to advance to the finals which they lost to Malaysia.
The ARC matches will be played across 80 minutes divided into two lots 40 minute halves with a 10 minute break. Teams will consist of 23 players and are allowed 8 reserves.
The tri-nations competition will be played in a single pool round robin format. 
Competition points will be awarded on the following basis: Win 4 points, Draw 2 points, 4 or more tries 1 point and a loss by 7 points or less 1 point.
Speaking about the championship captain of the Qatar national team Tom Featherstone said: “We are ready to beat both teams. We are playing to win. We are very strong in the forwards with plenty of experience there and that’s where we will be playing them.”
“The Iranians are very physical and like playing it close to the middle while the Lebanese are more flamboyant with their play and will throw the ball out wide to their backs. Whatever strategy both teams play we are ready for the counteract,” Featherstone added.
Featherstone who has been a resident of Qatar since 7 years old has played 8 caps with the Qatar national XV’s team and was part of the Qatar Rugby Sevens National side that competed in Al Ain earlier this year. 
He said: “Rugby is in my blood I don’t know of any other sport to play. Full credit to the QRF for their recent Sevens championship and their role they are playing in promoting Rugby in Qatar. This can only improve and as a result the sport will attract good quality players and coaches”.
QRF General Secretary Ali Al Malki thanked all the sponsors and paid tribute to the Copthorne Hotel who will be hosting the teams. 
“We are delighted at the opportunity of hosting the tournament with Asia Rugby. This tournament will be the biggest challenge for the Federation to date. I call on all the sports community to join us and show the world that we are capable of hosting and presenting world class events.”
 “The QRF wish to thank its partners the QOC, the Aspire Foundation Zone and IEC for their ongoing support. I wish to also acknowledge Kabalan Frangieh the General Manager of the Copthorne Hotel who has been a willing partner in the development of Rugby playing host to the Lebanese and Iranian national rugby teams and holding all events for the Asia Championship”. 
“We are very happy the QRF chose the Copthorne Hotel as their partner. The QRF is working hard to develop rugby in Qatar and we are excited to be part of that visionary process. The Copthorne Hotel is a strong supporter of community sports and we will do our best to deliver the best service which can only reflect on Qatar as a whole,” Frangieh said. The Peninsula