20 August 2017 – Malaysia men created history as they claimed first ever Gold in the SEA Games. Malaysia overcame Singapore in the final. Malaysia Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and Minister Youth and Sport, Khairi Jamaluddin were also present during the final match. Malaysia beat Singapore 22 – 7 to claim first ever gold in rugby.
Malaysia had an outstanding first day with 100% win record from 3 matches. Malaysia did not have much problem as they overcame Cambodia in the first match. Malaysia comfortably in the lead in the first half, leading 26 – 0. Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi had an outstanding game as he produced 16 points. Malaysia scored 9 tries and 3 conversions as Malaysia won the match 51 – 0.
Malaysia overcame their biggest obstacle in the pool match as they overcame Singapore. Malaysia lost to Singapore during the SEA 7s final back in April. That set to repeat as Singapore break the deadlock with the try from Samuel Koh Giap Yang in the first minute. Malaysia tied the game in the 3rd minute with the try from Mohd Siddiq Amir Abdul Jalil. Singapore had another good start as they scored their second try in the first minute of the second half through Jonathan Hong Jia Wong. With support from the home crowd, Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi scored the winning try and conversion in the last minute of the match. Malaysia beat Singapore 12 – 10.
In the third match, Malaysia defeated last edition Gold Medalist, Philippines. The Philippines with the bigger physical attribute certainly one of the seeded team prior to the tournament. Malaysia opened the scoring in less than a minute via Zulkiflee Azmi try and Mohamad Nor Azri conversion before they were pegged back by Vincent Francis Young try and Rupert Zappia conversion. Malaysia retook the lead Mohamad Khairul Abdillah Ramli and another conversion by Mohamad Nor Azri as Malaysia lead 14 – 7 in the first half. The Philippines did not let their head down and their work paid off as they tied the game with the try from Justin Thomas Coveney and Christopher Ian Evingram conversions. Muhammad Azwan Zuwairi Mat Azizi scored the try as Malaysia retook the lead in the 3rd minute of the second half before Muhammad Ameer Nasrun bin Zulkiflee sealed the win for Malaysia in the last play. Malaysia beat the Philippines 24 – 14.
Things did not start as planned for Malaysia in the first game of the second day. They did not have their best game as they lost to Thailand. The Thai shocked Malaysia as they got their first try in the first minute via Panupong Puangpun and additional 2 points by Warongkorn Khamkoet conversion. Thailand then extended the lead to 12 – 0 with Apichai Phichaikamol 2 minutes into the second half. With defeat within sight, Zulkiflee Azmi scored Malaysia only try with Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi 2 points from the conversion. Malaysia lost 7 – 12 to Thailand.
That defeat put Malaysia in the third place-based on points difference. Thailand sat top with Singapore in the second as all the three teams tied with 10 points each.
Malaysia secured the top spot with a big win over Indonesia in the last match. As they realised that they need to win by a big margin, Malaysia completely demolished Indonesia as they scored 11 try and 10 conversions. Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi had another great match as he noted 3 try and 7 conversions in this match as he got 29 points for Malaysia. Muhammad Firdaus Tarmizi also had a great match as he produced 3 tries. Malaysia completely demolished Indonesia 75 – 0.
Singapore secured the second spot and final Gold medal match as they thrashed Cambodia 70 – 0.
Right in front of the capacity crowd at the MBPJ Stadium, Malaysia claimed the first-ever gold medal in 7s men Rugby at the SEA Games. Malaysia set the pace for the match as Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi scored the first try in less than a minute. Singapore got the lead in the game as Nicholas Yau Yo Hong scored the try with Marah Moehamad Ishraf additional 2 points gave them the lead. That did not silent the crowd as Malaysian celebrate the second try by Muhammad Zulhisham Rasli. Muhammad Azwan Zuhairi Mat Azizi added 2 more points with successful conversion for Malaysia to lead 12 – 7 in the first half.Malaysia kept on pressing as Muhammad Dzafran Asyraaf Muhamad Zainuddin scored Malaysia third try, extended the lead to 17 – 7. Muhammad Dzafran Asyraaf Muhamad Zainuddin scored his second personal try in the final match, with Malaysian celebrate the first ever Gold medal in SEA Games.
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak presented the medals to the winner.
Photos by Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline