Author: Wan Mohd Zamir Bin Wan Rahim

20 players for 2018 adventures

23 November 2017 – 12 players who won the first ever Gold medal during the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games retained their place in the national team setup. They will be joined by another 8 players in preparation for the 2018 Asia Games in Palembang.

The star captain, Zulkiflee Azmi is expected to retain the armband as his experience proved to be valuable to the team. Apart from the SEA Games, Zulkiflee played in Asia Rugby 7s Series in 2017.

Saizul Hafifi retained his position as the team head coach. “The SEA Games players are the core for the team, with valuable experience to the team. The additional 6 players added great value to the team as they played in the Asia Rugby 7s Series”, shared Hafifi.

The name list, however, raised a few eyebrows as they saw two Malaysia Under 20 players, Muhammad A’aziem and Muhammad Haikal on the list. The duo has already proved their worth with outstanding performance in 2017 as they are the key player in the Malaysia Under 20 setup. The duo will join Muhammad Nazir as Saizul Hafifi will look into developing the three youngsters for the future.

This team will take part in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April. It will be one massive learning experience for the team as they will take on rugby giants such as the host Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, England, and Wales. Malaysia qualifies for the games as they finished second behind Sri Lanka for Asia team.

Saizul Hafifi dreams for Malaysia to do well in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asia Games. He hopes that his players use the experience from the SEA Games as well from the upcoming Commonwealth to do great in Palembang.

The 2018 Asia Games Jakarta-Palembang seems a long way to go but Malaysians are hoping to see the Malaysia 7s on the podium in August 2018.

The team will start their first centralized training session this 4th December.

Photos by Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline

Girls power in Kuching

22 November 2017 – Get Into Rugby Kuching created their own history as they recorded more girls participant compared to boys. Get Into Rugby program is heading to the finale of 2017 program and this could boost more girls participants in 2018.

Girls power

289 participants joined Get Into Rugby Sarawak. For the first time in Malaysia, 223 of them are girls with only 66 boys. It was no surprise to see girls dominating the program as Sarawak has produced numbers of talented women rugger including 4 players who won Bronze in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games team.

Farid Rahman gives instruction to two trainers

The two days program took place at the Song Kheng Hai Rugby Field, Kuching. The first-day focus of Train the trainer which also saw numbers of women turned up. The Get Into Rugby program was on the second day. Get Into Rugby director, Mr. Raimi Yusof lead the program with the assistant from Mr. Farid Rahman, ex-national player.

5 years old, Rayyan Wafeeq B Abdul Ghafar

GIR Sarawak also created another history as they welcome the youngest participant to the program. They welcome 5 years old, Rayyan Wafeeq B Abdul Ghafar who is still in the kindergarten. He showed great interest in rugby as he joined his older brother in the program.

Distance did not stop 28 students from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tebedu from Serian district. They traveled for 4 hours to make it to Kuching GIR. This is certainly a very good indication for GIR Malaysia to have a tour in Sarawak in 2018.

Photos by Get Into Rugby Malaysia and Kesatuan Ragbi Negeri Sarawak

13 Players on flight to Dubai

21 November 2017 – Malaysia Under 17 Women team is ready to fight for a sole spot in 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The team will take part in the Pre-Youth Olympic Qualifiers in Dubai at the end of this month.

The tournament which will take place in the Dubai Sports City. Malaysia is in Group D, alongside neighbor, Thailand and top-seeded team China. 12 teams confirmed their participation and only the champion will fly to Argentina next year.

Malaysia contingent will be lead and fully supported by Puan Sri Diana Diego. She is the Sabah Rugby Union Women Rugby Chairperson.

Bradley Mika is the team Technical Advisor while the team head coach is Gerard De Souza. The full Malaysia contingent :

Their target to finish in the top 8 suit the team with the majority of the players are 16 years old. Marytheresa Raj Thevaraj is the youngest player in the squad as she is only 14 years old.

The team is preparing well for the tournament. They have spent 2 months of centralized training started last September in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Puan Sri Diana Diego decision to fully support this team participation is one of the early steps to see the women rugby development to be at the same level with men in Malaysia. 

The team will depart to the United Arab Emirates on 27th November 2017. They will have time to settle down and get used to the Dubai atmosphere as the two days tournament will only start on 29th. Malaysia first match is against Thailand before they take on China in the second group matches.


No New Zealand for Under 16

20 November 2017 – Bad news for the Malaysia 7s Under 16 teams who supposed to fly to New Zealand this month. The team under the National Rugby Development Program initial plan is to take part in the Condor 7s in Auckland, New Zealand.

The team, however, have to cancel their trip. Condor 7s suppose to be the second destination for this development team. They did well on their first trip to Perth, Australia weeks back. Malaysia Under 16 team finished as the runner-up as they got beaten by Perth Bayswater in the final.

The decision to cancel the trip could have a big impact on those players especially after months of preparation and training for both tournaments. It should not occur at all especially as this team represent Malaysia and under the national level program.

There is no official release of the cancellation up to this point.

Photos NRDP

Get Into Rugby Malaysia – Personify Malaysia rugby scene

20 November 2017 – Get Into Rugby is heading to the last part of 2017. GIR from World Rugby is an initiative to develop and spread rugby among students starting from the tender age of 5 until 17 years old.

It was all started back in 2017 as the Malaysia Rugby Union started to use the Get Into Rugby module as the development program at try, play and stay level. With the grant 5000 pound from the World Rugby, they target Malaysia to reach 8000 pupils. The Malaysia Rugby Union showed great commitment and the graft showed increment each year, they increased the grant to 20 000 pounds per year where 50% of that need to be used to buy rugby equipment.

In 2017, Malaysia Rugby Union has organized the program for more than 27 000 pupils nationwide. That is 2000 more than the initial target. It was a great achievement that leads to Asia Rugby acknowledgment for Malaysia as one of the Elite nation in rugby development.

Get Into Rugby is a program which used both national as well as the ex-national players as the mentor. Lead by Vice President of Malaysia Rugby Union, Mr. Raimi Mohd Yusof as the Get Into Rugby Director, it is a big success to schools across the nation. Raimi shared “Teachers and mentor such as Farid Rahman, Yusli Ramli, Syed Shazril, Mazuri Salehudin, Irwan Abdol, Mohd Romli Saad and much more are playing a vital role that leads to the success of the program. The sacrifice a lot and show great dedication toward the program.”

As for this year, Get Into Rugby moved into another level by appointing King George V as the hub for the program. The agreement between KGV and GIR will lead to 4 tournaments which will be held to create a platform for any team under the GIR program. This will help to expand the program to the grass root level. This great idea is from Mr. Mohd Zain Haji Ismail, a visionary in expanding the sport.

Get Into Rugby latest program was in Kedah few week back. The four days road tour was organized as they received request from the Kedah Rugby Union. 28 schools took part with 23 teachers as well as 800 pupils from all over Kedah took part in the introduction program.

Get Into Rugby team is in Kuching, Sarawak for this week as they are having the program from 20 – 21 November 2017.

Do follow Get Into Rugby Instagram of hit the like button on the official Facebook page, Getintorugby-Malaysia

Photos by Get Into Rugby Malaysia.

Johor RA just too strong

20 November 2017 – No team can match Johor Rugby Academy physical and speed in the Melaka Under 16 15s Invitational Tournament. It was all about JRA from the beginning. Under the management of Mr. Najmulhuda, they showed their well-drill tactical and discipline to dismantle their opponent at the Padang Kolej Vokasional Melaka Tengah.

Powered by five players, Md Hazim Nor Ismail, Md Faiq Aslah, Md Arief Duharis, Ahmad Zulhilmi and Noor Hidayad who represented Malaysia 7s Under 16 during the Cockburn 7s, JRA certainly in their own class. They showed no mercy as they put Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah (KISAS) to the sword with 70 – 0 win in their first match.

JRA captain, Faiq Aslah

JRA strolled past Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Kubang Pasu (IKUPS) in the second match. They started strongly to score 3 early tries to comfortably lead in the first half. With the game in hand, they made numbers of changes but still managed to add points as they beat IKUPS 22 – 0.

KL Saracens unable to provide any trouble for the hot favorite. JRA finished the group stage on fire with 85 – 0 win over the Kuala Lumpur based team to keep their 100% record.

Last advice by Mr. Abdul Hanis

Players from SMK Seri Mersing and Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar who have been dominating the Under 16 tournament all over Malaysia certainly created a very strong foundation for Johor Rugby Academy. Under the guidance of their head coach, Mr. Abdul Hanis Mokhta, they faced no trouble in the semi-final, as they trashed Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Jempol (INTEJ) 43 – 0.

It was the rematch in the final as IKUPS shocked tournament host, Melaka Juniors in the semi-final. IKUPS scored last-minute try and conversion to beat Melaka Junior 19 – 17 to advance to the final. Melaka Juniors unable to repeat their win over INTEJ during the group match. INTEJ finished third as they scored 4 tries to beat host 20 – 17.

Mohammad Hazim Nor Ismail, JRA pack leader stormed pass IKUPS players

IKUPS gave everything they got in the final but Johor Rugby Academy proved to be just way too strong for them. JRA pack leader, Mohammad Hazim Nor Ismail drove the team forward as they scored 8 tries and 7 conversions in the final. JRA dismantled IKUPS 54 – 0 in the final to lift the trophy. To make it sweeter, JRA did not let any team got pass them throughout the championship.

Melaka Rugby Union presidents, Mr Hameed Bin M. K Basheer was at the match to present the championship trophy to Johor Rugby Academy captain, Mohammad Faiq Aslah.


Malaysia 7s U17 women ready for Dubai test

16 November 2017 – Malaysia 7s Under 17 Women will compete in Asia Rugby U17 Girls Rugby 7s. The tournament will also be the Pre-Youth Olympic qualification round. They will be competing in the regional association qualification tournament as they fight for the sole spot in the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 in Argentina.

12 teams have confirmed the participation. They are being divided into 4 groups of three. Malaysia is in Pool D as they will have two tough matches against neighbour, Thailand and China. Top-seeded team, Japan is in Pool A while the host, United Arab Emirates will face Iran and Kazakhstan in Pool B.

The tournament will take place on 29th and 30th November 2017. It will be held at the Dubai Sports City, United Arab Emirates.

There is no official release on the continent to Dubai but we expect to see Bradley Mika, the ex-New Zealand player to lead the team as the Technical Advisor.

Only the champion of this tournament will qualify for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics which will take place at Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires in Palermo, Argentina.

Malaysia boys finish fourth in the boys’ qualifier which took place in Chinese Taipei last September. Japan qualified to Argentina as the tournament champion.

France to host RWC 2023

15 November 2017 – The decision is out and it will be France to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. This will be the third time France as a Rugby World Cup host. France beat South Africa, Ireland, and Italy (withdrew the bid on 28th September) in the final voting.

France host previous Rugby World Cup in 2007. They were also the co-host in the second edition of Rugby World Cup in 1991. They jointly hosted with England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.

The result causes shock among rugby fans as most of them expecting Ireland to host it in 2023. This is due to the fact that Ireland never hosts the game on their own.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont announces France as Rugby World Cup 2023 hosts.

9 cities will host the matches.

Things were also expected to be bigger in 2023. World Rugby boss back in 2015, Brett Gosper has said a future World Cup could enlarge the number of teams taking part without losing competitiveness. Mr Gosper said allowing fringe nations into the event would allow them “to promote the sport in their countries”. “As the sport grows and we conquer new markets the discussion is about looking towards expanding [of the World Cup], rather than contracting,” he added.

Thailand shocked host to book final spot

15 November 2017 – Thailand who ranked 78th in the world shocked the host nation, Chinese Taipei in the Asia Rugby Championship Division 2. That second semi-final match saw both teams gave their best shot with Thailand celebrated after the final whistle with 27 – 21 win.

Thailand sent the early warning to the host as Thanawatr Jamkrajang contributed the first 3 points with the drop goal in the first minute. They extended the lead to 6 – 0 with Warongkorn Khamkoet penalty on the 10th minutes of the match. Warongkorn Khamkoet put Thailand 9 points clear with his second penalty after the half-hour mark.

Chinese Taipei made sure they stay in contention as they scored the first try of the match on the 38th minutes through Po-Yao Chuang. They added 2 more points as Ching-Hung Shen completed the conversion. The first match ended with Thailand lead with a slim 9 – 7 margin.

Early yellow card for Thailand, Kwan Chumjai 3 minutes after the restart put them on the back foot. Chinese Taipei took the lead for the first time as Po-Yao Chuang scored his second try of the match. Ching-Hung Shen made it two out of two from the kicking spot with a successful conversion.

Chinese Taipei lead last for three minutes only as Pongnatee Ngoetong scored Thailand first try. Both teams drew 14 points each.

Po-Wei Huang scored Chinese Taipei third try as well as Ching-Hung Shen third conversions let them retake the lead 15 minutes in the second half. Thailand closed the margin to 17 – 22 as Warongkorn Khamkoet scored his third penalty of the match.

Thailand maintained their pressure over the host and their effort paid off with 5 minutes to play. Peerapol Chukoun try gave them the lead as Warongkorn Khamkoet completed the conversions. Thailand lead the host 24 – 21.

Chinese Taipei made their best effort late in the match but it was Thailand who add 3 more points. Warongkorn Khamkoet who had an outstanding game scored the last penalty with one minute to go in the match to seal Thailand spot in the Asia Rugby Championship Division 2 final.

Thailand will meet another South East Asia nation, Singapore in the final. Singapore had a great opening match as they thrashed India in the semi-final 1 match. Charlie Lambert had a fine day for Singapore as he contributed 3 tries in the match.

Singapore scored 9 tries and two conversions without reply. Singapore beat India 49 – 0.

India will face the host in the 3rd/4th place match in the early kick-off while Thailand will face Singapore right after the first match. Both matches will take place on 18th November 2107 in Chinese Taipei.

Photos: Ragbionline’s Archive and Thai Rugby Union and Singapore Rugby facebook page

RWC 2019 Ball Design Story

15 November 2017 – Gilbert as the official Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 ball supplier has launched the official ball for the game. With Japanese elements all around, Gilbert has done wonders to create ball which will be part of the world rugby history in 2019.

The RWC 2019 look and feel has been developed to reflect this juxtaposition of old and new using traditional: screens which simulate the six section of the rugby pitch.

At the centre of the design, the rising sun conveys Japan at the heart of the world rugby in 2019 whilst the mizuhiki knot, a traditional symbol of unity in Japan, represents multiple facets of the rugby world coming together to celebrate the pinnacle of the sport on, and off the pitch.

All of these elements combine to showcase the brand positioning of the World Rugby Union.

The ball is comprised of a fractal spiral pattern, culminating in the polygonal representation of the sun on the end of the ball – to provide players with a clear point of colour reference when rotating, either longitudinally or end over end.

Prominent darker colour frames the edges of the pattern to provide high contrast between graphics and the ball compound.

Thus allowing the player to distinguish the ball easily.

Traditional Japanese patterns with a contemporary rugby twist are intertwined amongst the bold geometric shapes to provide a layered design which is both subtle and striking.

Distinctive rugby world cup iconography features within the event mark and on both ends of the ball, providing an evocative representation of the host nation and its intrinsic involvement with the tournament.

More info, do visit official Gilbert Facebook page

Buy the original Gilbert at

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