Community Sports News

Kevin’s campaign with Israel’s Rugby XV hits a snag

2 November 2017
By Jack Milner, SA Jewish Report 30 Oct - 03 November 2017
Israel’s campaign to move up into the higher rugby echelons took a dip at the weekend when they went down 17-32 to Croatia in their second match of the Rugby Europe International Championship qualifying games.

A week earlier they beat Andorra 27-22 after leading 7-5at half-time. Both were away games for the Israelis. However, according to their South African coach,Kevin Musikanth, all is not lost. “A lot depends on how the other teams do, but we do have to win our next two matches against Bosnia and Malta.”

At least the final two matches will be played in Israel but, as Musikanth points out, Malta has a very good team.
Musikanth coached the South African team at the Maccabi Games in July. The Israelis liked the idea of having a top rugby coach who is also Jewish, and they offered him the opportunity to coach their 15-man team for this
campaign. Currently Israel plays in the South Division of the FIRA Championship Division Two and if they are to progress to the next level, they will have to win the whole division.
That means they need to finish top of the South Section which includes Andorra, Croatia, Bosnia and Malta. If they achieve that, they then have to play off against the winner of the North Section, which comprises Latvia, Sweden,Hungary, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Musikanth joined the team on October 10 and says he has little to complain about after the first match. “I’m very happy with the way in which they played in the match against Andorra,”he said. “They had a new coach and then five players who are overseas met up with us in Andorra. They then produced a solid defensive game which shows they are buying in and are committed to the programme.“We are now working on finishing as we dominated possession and territory, but just didn’t seem able to finish. We also need consistency at the line-outs, but overall there were many more positives than negatives.”

Musikanth received his cap at an official capping ceremony, but typical of Israel, the “cap” turned out to be a kova tembel.

Back to News