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Six-man Germany keep dream alive with QF win in Munich

By Ian Cameron
Chris Umeh of Germany Credit: Mike Lee for World Rugby

Germany kept their hopes of making the HSBC SVNS promotional play-off in Madrid alive despite playing much of their 19-17 quarter-final win over Kenya with just six players.

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Germany’s Ben Ellerman copped a red card for an illegal fend on a Kenyan player as he made his way towards the try line, leaving his teammates facing an uphill battle to book a semi-final spot.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Germany came from behind to secure a win against the African side, with a try from Jakob Dipper and a brace from Makonnen Amekuedi getting them over the line.

Germany came into the tournament in fourth place, but Hong Kong China – who currently sit in 5th on the same Challenger Series but with an inferior points difference – kept the pressure on their hosts when they eased past Tonga in their quarter-final in the game before.

“It feels amazing,” John Dawe told RugbyPass pitchside in Munich. “We said in the team talk at the start, no matter what, it’s just about heart and pride for this game. We knew obviously that Kenya are an extremely good outfit, so it was literally just heart and dig deep and hopefully the result came our way, which was amazing in the end.

“Unfortunately that’s rugby [the red card]. Things like that happen and obviously, he didn’t mean to do that… But to be able to do that [the win] is amazing.”

Germany kept their hopes of winning the Munich Challenger Series round alive and will now play Hong Kong China in the semi-final, the result of which will decide who makes the Madrid play-offs.

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“It gets more spicy now as obviously it goes down to head to head, the semi-final is technically our final for Madrid, because we’re against Hong Kong China in the semi, so literally we’re focussed on that now and going to give everything to win that game.”

Chris Umeh was equally stoked as his side dug deep to bag the win.

“It’s all for the team. It’s great that the boys had each other’s back. It’s a team sport. Kenya was more like individual players, but as you can see, even though we were with six guys [due to the red card] we bonded with each other and we did a great job in the end to keep the composure, got the try at the end and the mistakes of Kenya led us to victory.

“Germany hasn’t ever been in a world series, just invitational tournaments. It’s our dream. We train each day, we all are in the same camp. So much hard work has been in these seven months, and we’ll get the victory, I’m sure.”

The message within the squad is to keep doing what they’re doing.

“Just keep playing as we do. Keep the composure. The tries will come. The opposition will make mistakes and we live for that.

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“Every family is here, contributing to our performance. It’s in the heart. It’s such an amazing feeling to have the crowd at our back.”

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