Category: From Our Lens

92% ready

21 June 2018 – Malaysia Rugby Union delegate lead by the Presiden, Dato Shahrul Zaman Yahya visited the ongoing construction of Mini Rugby Stadium at the MBI Sports Complex in Ipoh this morning. It will be the venue for the rugby match in the 2018 SUKMA which will be held in Perak.

According to Fahmy Jalil, MRU Tournament Director, the venue which reaches 92% completion, will be ready for the game. It is expected to be handover by 15th July 2018.

It is a brand new stadium, constructed for rugby and will be managed by Kesatuan Ragbi Perak.

The RM 3.1 million mini Stadium will be tested later in August in the pre-game tournament. The actual game will take place in September. It will start on 15th and the gold medal match is expected to take place on the 16th September evening.

The new Perak Youth, Sports and Human Capital Development Minister, Howard Lee Chuan How, also present during the visit.

The delegate was brief by Mrs Nasfiza, JKR Construction Manager for SUKMA.

Photos courtesy of Malaysia Rugby Union

7s time to utilise ISN

5 December 2017 – Malaysia 7s team had their first training session at the Institut Sukan Negara (ISN) yesterday. That will be the start of the 1st phase of training ahead of their preparation for the 2018 games.

All 20 players who received the call-up attend the session. The team which consists of all 12 players in 2017 SEA Games gold medalist will be preparing for Commonwealth Games and Asia Games in 2018.

Their focus in ISN will be more on their strength and conditioning. 7s players have been active as they played for their club prior to this training session. Most of them came into the first phase in a very good physical condition.

The 7s team will only have their first tournament in January 2018. They will also start their session with the head coach, Mr. Saizul Hafifi next week.

From Our Lens : SSTMI – Champion in need of support

9 November 2017 – When we talk about Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail, each rugby fans across Malaysia knows how important that school is in producing great players that went on to play for Malaysia.

9 out of 12 national players who bag Gold during the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games are the product of SSTMI. That shows the high quality of the players produce by the coaching and management of this school.

SSTMI is the only school listed as the High-Performance School under the National Rugby Development Program (NRDP) in Malaysia. They match that status by dominating tons of tournament in 2017.

Few could stop SSTMI when they are on song

U19/U20
Plate Runner-up – Asia Rugby Under 20 Sevens Series
Quarter Final – AirAsia Malaysia Rugby League
Champion – National 7s
Semi Final – Langkawi International Rugby 7s
Semi Final – NS Royal 7s
Champion – Arau 7’s

U18
Runner Up – National 7s
Plate Runner Up – Langkawi International Rugby 7s
Bowl Champion – NS Royal 7s
Third Place – Arau 7s

Under 17
Champion – MCKK 7s
Champion – Salbros 7s
Semi Final – Langkawi International Rugby 7s
Bowl Champion – NS Royal 7s

Team U16
Runner Up – Johor Rugby Carnival 7s
Runner Up – NS Royal 7s
Third Place – Arau 7s
Champion – Allied Pickfords 15s
Champion – Super KGV International 10s

7 years old broken tackling bag

Few know that despite all the championship, the rugby team is severely lacking in term of fund and equipment. They still able to join multiple tournaments and won them with the help of parents, friends and rugby fans.

The sky is the limit if this school is well equipped and fund. They could have better preparation with proper equipment. The status of the only high-performance school should be matched.

SSTMI is the reference for all the other rugby school in Malaysia. They also received tons of application to come to their place and train with them and they accepted it with open arms despite all their shortage.

They need something way better than these

It is great to see the coaching team fully utilized what they have. It will be much better to see if they can maximize their potential with proper support from those who supposed to be involved.

Very best of luck SSTMI Tsunami in 2018.

As what those rugby coaches say, “ada ada, tak ada tak ada, anggap selasai”

Photos from Mr Syed Shazril and Zainuddin Mamat/Ragbionline

Rimau 7s – The Squad Part 2

10 August 2017 – Maiko or Mohamad Khairul Abdilah bin Ramli, to our surprise, is the sibling of Nurazman (Jemey), the national 15s player. So rugby is really in their vein so to speak. Maiko started playing since he was 13 with strong supports from his parents, coaches, and friends. He is currently playing for Serdang Angels.

The best games to date are Cockburn 7s and Asia Series Korea. Maiko’s position is scrumhalf. Throughout his career, Maiko rated the following as his most memorable:
a. Runner-up of Cockburn 7s.
b. Top 5 in both South Korea and Sri Lanka 7s series.
c. Champions Asian 5 Nation in Qatar (2014).
d. Champions IRG Ranking Bangkok (2014)
e. Champions ARC 2016.

Muhammad Ameer Nasrun bin Zulkeffli or Awe, is another player from Serdang Angels. Started playing at the age of 14, Awe is a product of SMK Sultan Yahya Petra (1), Kelantan. It was there that Awe received the initial training. The coach who responsible for providing him with the foundation and encouraged him to excel in rugby was Cikgu Kamel Ishak.
According to Awe, his best games to date were playing for Malaysia in ARFU 7s U20 in 2011 and 2012. For 2 consecutive years, the U20 7s emerged champions and to put the icing on the cake, Malaysia beat both Hong Kong and Japan. What an achievement!

The lowest point in his games was during Asia Games in Korea when Malaysia suffered defeats to Japan and Thailand in the group stage and ended up winning the bowl. A morale sapping experiences.

Awe’s achievements to date include:
a. Silver medal for SEA Game Singapore
b. 6th place for Olympics Qualifying in Hong Kong
c. 4th place HSBC Asian 7s Mumbai 2013
d. 4th place HSBC Asian 7s Colombo 2015
e. Champions for ARFU 7s U20 2011 and 2012.
f. Runner Up ARFU 7s U20 2013.

Muhammad Azwan Zuwairi bin Mat Zizi or Puteh started playing rugby at the age of 10. The best games to date for him were Asian 7s Series in South Korea and Sri Lanka and also Cockburn 7s in Australia.

His best achievement was ARFU U20 for 2015 and 2016 and Asia 7s Series for the same years.

We at Ragbi Online would like to wish Maiko, Awe, Puteh and the rest of Rimau 7s all the best and bring the gold medals home.

By Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline

Brother shared national head coach sacrifice

10 August 2017 – In the build up for the upcoming 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, there is a lot of sacrifice being made by the athlete as well as the coaching team. This includes the one that is made by the National 7s Men head coach, Mohd Saizul Hafifi bin Md Noor who went back and forth from Kuala Lumpur to Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in Johor for years as they are gunning for Gold.

Saizul Hafifi’s brother, Mohd Khairul Azhar bin Md Noor shared this status on his personal facebook account.

It is hard to imagine how Saizul Hafifi have the strength to travel that far weekly, and even left his wife during her preganancy. However, with all the passion in rugby and the spirit to go for gold, he went through all that.

The ambition and love for the sport began at their home in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. Their family are all about rugby. That gene started from their father, Md Noor bin Nek Elias who instill rugby to all 5 son. Both Saizul Hafifi and Khairul Azhar played for Malaysia in their prime as well as another 2 sibling, Mohd Saizul Hafiz bin Md Noor and their eldest brother, Mohd Khairol Masri bin Md Noor. The youngest member of the family, Mohd Khairol Faiz bin md noor played for Kelantan.

Saizul Hafifi is not the only one who still active in rugby as the other sibling still play their trade in rugby. Khairul Azhar is a teacher, lead the Sekolah Tengku Abdul Rahman team as well as the player/manager for Kelantan in the ongoing Agong Cup. Saizul Hafiz is playing the game as well with his last notable appearent was for SSTMI Tsunami in the 2017 AirAsia Malaysia Rugby League.

We at Ragbi Online would like to wish the very best for Saizul Hafifi and Rimau 7s team. Bring home the gold!

Photos by Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline

From Our Lens : Rimau 7s Rising Together

2 July 2017 – We dropped by at Padang A UPM a few days back to have some quick updates from the Head Coach of Rimau 7s, Mohd Saiful Afifi on the latest development of the squad.

According to the Head Coach who is fondly known as “Pipie”, the squad is currently in Phase 3 – their last phase of training. All the hard works are about to come to its end. However, he is having a headache in choosing the final Rimau 7s squad as all of the current players are in their best in term of results, tests, and physical conditions.

Coach is an art, but you need science to back up your finding and fine tune your methods. To this end, the coaching team is using Catapult GPS tracking system, to monitor the performance of these fine athletes. With this system, the team is able to measure and track performance in real time and trend performance over time.

Our main competitors in the 7s rugby are the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. However, the Philippines as the strongest and shall provide the main obstacles in our quest for the gold medals. In the last SEA Games (2015), the Philippines beat Malaysia 24-7 to win the gold medals.

We at Ragbionline would like to wish Coach Pipie and his team the best in their and our nation quest for the goal medals.

By Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline

From Our Lens : Perlis prides are winners

1 August 2017 – Perlis suffered a crushing defeat on the first day of the tournament. A morale busting 3-85 scoreline. To some quarters, they half expected Kelantan to beat Perlis although not with this kind of score line.

To me, they are winners. Based on the line-up, I can only see one recognisable name of Bonzer, who plies his trade with Cobras in the Super League. The rest are aliens to me. Yet, they refused to be bothered with lacked of big names. Fight and soldier on they go.In the first half they threw everything that they have and gave Kelantan some hard time. They came with a game plan. Win or lose is secondary, the guts and audacity to test against a better team is something that we all can look up to.

Some of the players are young. Piala Agong campaign can be a venue for them to gain valuable experience, big game match temperamental.

There are no losers in this game either we win or we learn. Perlis by taking part and play with prides are winners in my eyes.

Photos and write up : Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline

Piala Agong – Lets the game begin!

Piala Agong was introduced more than 3 decades ago with PDRM winning the inaugural Cup in 1983. The prestigious competition provides the venue for the states to compete against each other and also includes PDRM and ATM.

ATM is the side with the most win, winning the Cup on 11 occasions. A formidable force in the late 1980s to mid-1990s. Selangor is next with 6, followed by Kelantan and Sabah with 4 each. Last year, the Cup was won by Perak, their maiden winning in a dramatic comeback in the final.

This year, it seems that the Cup is taking a back seat as the nation is busy with ARC Division 1 tournament and also the SEA Games. Not much publicity albeit that the imminent kickoff, with the opening game scheduled on 29 July 2017.

Despite that heavyweight such as Terengganu, Kedah and Johor are on business as usual mode. Kedah engaged the services of the Keris Conlay and their captain Fairuz Rahman. In addition, they also roped in Amirul Mukminin the national player and Akmal “Pulut” to strengthen their squad.

Johor is finalizing their player selection and the final list is expected to be ready by next week. Terengganu brought in several MASUM gold medal winners including the captain Nazuridin Abd Latiff, Iqwain Aqmal, speedster Azizul Hakim and the kicker Muhammad Faizal.

The notable absentees for 2017 are Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Despite having active local leagues and strong programs at grass root level, both teams have decided to give Piala Agong a miss. A major set back for the Tournament, especially in the case of Selangor which has good pedigree in Piala Agong, winning the Cup on 6 occasions.

File photo of victorious Johor team for 2013 Edition.

From Our Lens : Professional? It’s every stakeholder task!

I left my house around 3.00 pm thinking that I was late for the match. After a quick refuel managed to arrive at 3.50pm.

All the Rimau 7s and their coaches were there, all taped, kitted and ready for action. Quite surprised and shocked to see that their opponents were nowhere to be found. The matches were supposed to be low key as Pre warm up for the coming warm up matches of ELITE 7s 2017. The opportunity for coach and his team to tweak and fine tune their tactics if there is anything that needed to be changed.

I like what I saw, Rimau 7s were well trained, primed for big matches. Their movements were well coordinated. Team spirits were high and everybody was motivated. Various combinations were put into test and they looked good.

Apparently, their opponents were not. I am not sure where is the breakdown of communication between the parties responsible for the event. As it transpired, there were simply not enough bodies to play, forcing them to combine 2 teams into one. So a “caca merba” team as the local would say, to play the national side. A one-sided, stroll in the park for Rimau 7s.

As rugby scene is moving towards a new phase, the professional era, every stakeholder must thread with care. A minor incident like this can give the public the perception that we are taking a hurried step toward professionalism.

Shared and photos by Zainuddin Mamat

From Our Lens : Penalise the high tacklers

14 December 2016 – The second match of the day 1 Asia Rugby Championship 2016 saw Sri Lanka Under 19 edged Malaysia Under 19 27 – 21 in the very last minutes of the game. Both team show their willingness to fight and back and fourth action attacking and well defend display created great pleasure to the crowds at the UPM Stadium.

However, one things that struck our attention was the unwillingness for the referee to stop the play and take action for the Dangerous tackles (high tackles). This was especially in the second half of the game as both team came toe to toe to win the game. Numbers of incident which were well captured by our on field photographers on that day saw those tacklers got away after the incident.

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It was the kind of tackle that can cause injury to the opponent, to make things worst, possibly a career ending injury. The referee needs to be more strict in order to make this beautiful game safe enough for the athlete to play and enjoy the match.

“The specific provisions of Law 10.4(e) in relation to High Tackles are as follows:

A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.A stiff-arm tackle is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent.

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At an IRB Medical Conference held in November 2010 at Lensbury the results of studies related to injuries sustained as a result of tackles were outlined. A study in England concluded that “stricter implementation of the Laws of Rugby relating to collisions and tackles above the line of the shoulder may reduce the number of head/neck injuries”.A separate study in New Zealand concluded that “ball carriers were at highest risk from tackles to the head and neck region”.
The participants at the Medical Conference generally recognised that tackles above the line of the shoulders have the potential to cause serious injury and noted that a trend had emerged whereby players responsible for such tackles were not being suitably sanctioned.

The purpose of this Memorandum is to emphasise that as with tip tackles, they must be dealt with severely by Referees and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process.

It is recognised of course, as with other types of illegal and/or foul play, depending on the circumstances of the high tackle, the range of sanctions extends from a penalty kick to the player receiving a red card. An illegal high tackle involving a stiff arm or swinging arm to the head of the opponent, with no regard to the player’s safety, bears all the hallmarks of an action which should result in a red card or a yellow card being seriously considered.

Referees and Citing Commissioners should not make their decisions based on what they consider was the intention of the offending player. Their decision should be based on an objective assessment (as per Law 10.4(e)) of the overall circumstances of the tackle.”

Extract from http://laws.worldrugby.org/?domain=9&guideline=3&language=EN

Photos : Zainuddin Mamat and Muizzuddin Yahaya – ragbionline