2 September 2017 – Malaysia finished 7th at the first series of Asia Rugby Sevens Series which took place at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong. It was a tricky encounter for the team as they were winless in the pool matches as they lost heavily in all three.
Much was expected from the team who travelled to Hong Kong. This came after the recent success claiming the first ever Gold medal at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. However, Malaysia was not represented by the same 12 men. They were also lead by different coach, Edwin Cocker.
There was not much that they can do as they open the series against host nation, Hong Kong. It was preatty much strolled in the park for the host as they claimed victory with 31 – 0 scoreline.
Malaysia did have a much better start agaist China in the second match. They shocked China with a try from Nasharuddin Ismail in the first minutes as well as two additional points through Zharif Mohd Zahib conversion. They showed some fighting spirit as they drew level after China scored two quick tries and two conversions as Zaiheri Zumardi scored Malaysia second try with Zharif Mohd Zahib completed his second conversions. However, it was all about China especially in the second half as they raced to 54 – 14 win over Malaysia.
Malaysia also unable to replicate the same dominant win over The Philippines in the SEA Games as they suffered heavy defeat to them this time around. They were down 0 – 33 to the Philippines after the final whistle.
Malaysia who finished last in the Pool A met Japan, who went on to win the series, in the quarter final. They gave their best shot on that quarter final match but Japan proved to be way to strong. Japan comfortably beat Malaysia 44 – 0.
After the defeat, Malaysia met Sri Lanka in the Plate semi final match. That did not turn out well as well for Malaysia as Sri Lanka ran away with 45 – 0 win.
Malaysia only win in the series came in the 7th/8th match. Both Malaysia and Chinese Taipei were winless in the build up to the match. Malaysia able to avoid from finished at the last place as they beat Chinese Taipei 33 – 12. Chines Taipei had a better start but Malaysia came back with 5 tries and 3 conversions to be comfartbly in the lead. Chinese Taipei had one last try to make the scoreline more reasonble considering the fight that they gave through out the match.
Zaiheri Zumardi, Badrul Mukhtee, Zarif Mohamed Zahib, Amrie Jefree and Nazreen Nasruddin had one try each in the last match. That sealed Malaysia first win as they finished seventh in Hong Kong.
Malaysia next participation in the series will be at the end of this month. The team will be lead by Zaiful Hafifi will fly to South Korea for the second series.
Photos credited to Asia Rugby Facebook page.