Cover photo: Zarameen
Just in case you missed it, Malta’s national rugby team absolutely annihilated Andorra last week in their Conference South 1 match. The Maltese team schooled the Andorrans in the game of rugby in front of an exuberant home crowd at the Hibernians Stadium.
The game ended at 89 – 3, which is the largest ever win for the Maltese national rugby team. Like, ever.
There were some pretty epic moments in the historic match – the Maltese team scored its first try within the very first minute, and within ten minutes had already built up a sizeable lead.
Hell, the Maltese side were even able to continue scoring even after one of the Maltese players was sent off, leaving them at a disadvantage.
But easily one of the most impressive things to come out of the match was the rise of debutante Brendan Dalton, who scored three tries after entering the game in the second half.
“To be honest I expected to play for 5 minutes, just so I get a taste of international rugby, and I would’ve been happy with that. But I ended up staying on pitch for about 30 minutes,” he says bashfully.
He scored his first try soon after hitting the pitch, running circles around the Andorran defence. “It was a dream come true, I was over the moon, I just didn’t expect it,” he said.
But then he scored a second try. And a third.
“When I scored the second try I just couldn’t believe it, it was really unexpected, and then the third… I was hoping it would happen again!” he said excitedly.
The home crowd let out a huge roar when he left the pitch, and his coach and teammates gave him props for his debut hat-trick.
“Their support is really important, it really helps and it is encouraging,” he said. “It makes the game more enjoyable as well, hearing the crowd roar makes such a difference.”
As someone who has been a fan of rugby his whole life, Brandan is now focused on perfecting his game and taking the Maltese team to the top.
“It’s an honour, it makes me really proud to represent Malta. As a kid I was at every single home and away game, I was always in the crowd,” he said.
He also spoke about the national focus on sports at the expense of rugby.
“Rugby is a sport that Malta is actually competing and winning in, and compared to the funds that football gets we are making massive steps in making a name for the country,” he said.
The national team now look towards facing the winners of the Conference North 1 division for their next play-off.
“A lot of the boys are in the gym at the moment in case we get the next fixture soon – hopefully we get the win and we get the promotion, that would be ideal,” he said.
Until then, he invites new players who might be interested in rugby to try it out.
“I really recommend it,” he smiles, “I love that it is a team sport and you form bonds with your teammates. It’s really fun, it is open to every single body type and when you do what you enjoy and train hard, then you’ll achieve your dream.”