Malta XIII hold out Oxford University 34 to 20

Malta shot out to a 22-nil lead after 15 minutes before Oxford University RLFC staged a mid-match comeback, before Love Island star and former Parramatta Eels Josh Gatt separated the sides four minutes from time for a 34 to 20 Malta XIII victory at Marsa Rugby Ground.

The visitors threatened the Maltese when they brought the scores to within two only 10 minutes from full time, but the Maltese led from start to finish in a hardly fought contest in 30-degrees-plus temperatures.

Malta national team prop opened the scoring for the Maltese after four minutes, and over the next 11 minutes, 16-year-old debutant Harrison Jewitt, dual Malta rugby international Jean Scholey, and Maltese prop Josh Cassar all crossed for four pointers.

Renowned local point-scorer Kyle Gauci kicked five from six conversions, but the visitors staged a comeback that saw the Maltese have to rally together to hold off the famous university rugby league side.

Oxford University skipper Milo Wills led from the front with two tries, fullback Tom Milton also scored as well as converting on two occasions.

Australian referee Phil Kingsman called half-time when three Maltese players suffered a head clash just off their own tryline.

A try from Jack Sander early in the second half had the Maltese on notice and it was a tussle in the Maltese sun for the last half hour before Gatt put the match beyond doubt.

Maltese captain Karl Cassar put the icing on the cake in the final minute and Gauci converted for a 14-point home victory.

Malta coach Philip Humphrey’s men will return to their club commitments before he calls the national team in September ahead of the October international away to the Netherlands.

Malta XIII 34 (J.Zarb, H.Jewitt, J.Scholey, J.Cassar, J.Gatt, K.Cassar tries, K.Gauci 5 from 6 goals) defeated

Oxford University 20 (M.Wills 2, T.Milton, J.Sander tries, T.Milton 2 from 2, M.Wills 0 from 2 goals)

At Marsa Rugby Ground, Malta

Referee: Phil Kingsman, Touch Judges: Mauro Miceli, Alex Albright

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