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Olkhovskiy leads Kazakhstan in win against Singapore

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Spearheaded by Ivan Olkhovskiy, Kazakhstan dismantled Singapore with the score of 32-12 to take third place in the 2015 Asia Rugby Championship Division I tournament held at the Philippine Sports Stadium earlier this afternoon.

Olkhovskiy scored 17 points including a try just three minutes into the game to put his team off to a good start. The Nomads, as the Kazakhstan rugby union team is known, then scored another try when Ruslan Galiyev put the ball down the in-goal area. Similar to the first one, Galiyev’s try was not converted. Singapore got to find their way back in with 11 minutes courtesy of Michael Carne who finished an attacking sequence with a try to put his team back in the game. Unfortunately, his try did not come with bonus points. At the half, Kazakhstan held on to a slender 10-5 lead.

Just holding a precarious five-point lead at the start of the second half, the Kazakhs unrelentingly moved towards enemy territory. Their aggression was rewarded seven minutes after the restart when Ivan Olkhovskiy was successful in his penalty attempt. Shortly afterwards, the Central Asians were comfortably ahead after centre Ivan Rushmelev found an opening within the central area of the goal to score his team’s third try at the 51st minute. Olkhovskiy, from close range, had no problems in converting his teammate’s try to push their lead to 15, 20-5.

In desperate need of points, Singapore looked to trim the gap by scoring a converted try. Although they did score one inside the last 10 minutes, it was the determined Kazakhstan team who got to celebrate first. Scrum half Alexandr Polyakov finished off a wonderful string of passes that plundered Singapore’s left wing defense by scoring an unconverted try with only 14 minutes left in the match. The Southeast Asian team, who nearly edged the hosts last Wednesday, found a way to breach the Kazakhstan defense but it was too late. Matthew Roberts was on the end of the Singaporeans’ brilliant ball movement that them saw reach the double-digit mark. Winger Nicholas Groen added two more points with a neat penalty kick to complement Roberts’ try at the 71st minute.

However, Singapore was not able to keep the deficit below 20 points when Olkhovskiy ended the game the way he started. The Kazakhstan winger worked his way around the left hand side to earn his team a try, which he himself converted with only two minutes remaining. In doing so, Kazakhstan concluded the match with a convincing win to secure their Division I status for at least a year. On the other hand, Singapore will defend its Division I place as it awaits the top dogs of Asia Rugby Championship Division II.

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