Katz gives GB a flying start

By Danny Caro in Netanya, July 13, 2009
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Team GB 16 Australia 6

Fly-half Sam Katz enjoyed a dream debut with an 11-point haul steering Team GB to an opening day win over Australia at the Wingate Institute in Netanya.

The London Welsh teenager kicked three penalties and a conversion as GB made the perfect start in the Ashes clash.

A cagey first half saw Australia take the lead with a penalty which came after two missed efforts. They held their lead until the break.

GB raced out of the blocks in the second half, picking up the tempo and taking the game to the gold and green.

Katz, 18, put them back on level terms with a kick straight down the middle before making it two out of two minutes later.

Incessant GB pressure was rewarded by a penalty try, which the near-faultless Katz converted with aplomb to open up a 13-3 lead. The try was awarded after the Aussies intentionally collapsed the scrum – preventing GB a try-scoring opportunity.

Australia pulled it back to 13-6 with their second successful penalty but Katz clinched the match with his third penalty.

Head coach Simon Culley said: “I couldn’t be prouder, it’s a huge win as the Aussies were outstanding. I felt the ref controlled the scrum better in the second half.”

He had words of praise for Katz. “The kid’s quality.”

Katz, who starts Loughborough University in September, was delighted with his and the team’s display. Speaking to me seconds after the final whistle, he said: “It was a superb all-round performance. The packed did especially well and we had players playing out of position who slotted in superbly when we had players sin-binned or injured.

“It was a dream Maccabiah debut for me and the GB fans in the crowd did well to eventually drown out the Aussies. I’ve spent a lot of time practising my kicking at it paid off today.”

Teammate Jerry Hill, who will join Dutch pro club Hilversum on a 10-month contract straight after the Maccabiah, commented: “We’ve set ourselves the highest individual standards and have a very professional management team. Sheer bloody-mindedness spurred us on.”

Next up for GB are South Africa on Tuesday at 6pm.

In other action, Israel thumped Chile 89-5 while Team USA beat Canada.

Other results

Open cricket – South Africa beat Australia by 5 wickets

Under 18 Football – GB 1 USA 1

Junior Football
Australia 2 Belgium 1

Football Juniors
Brazil 3 England 0

Futsal open
Finland 7 Estonia 3

Junior Basketball
Russia 98 Canada 53

Last updated: 11:54am, July 13 2009