10 April 2018 – The Malaysia head coach, Saizul Hafifi remained optimist of his team chances to shine in Gold Coast. 4 days before the kickoff, Saizul is hopeful of his players to play their best rugby during the ongoing 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The national team is in Pool A alongside the South Africa, Scotland and Papua New Guinee. All the other 3 teams are very strong considering they are competing in the HSBC Sevens World Series. South Africa is having a wonderful year and leading the World Sevens Series while Scotland is at 9th at the moment with Papua New Guinee on 16th place with 6 points.
It will be an uphill task for the national team to beat any of them, especially South Africa. “We want to score some points against all 3 teams in the group. We will make sure the points margin is small” shared Saizul Hafifi. Malaysia scored 1 try against Papua New Guinee back in 2014 when the two teams met in the 2014 Scotland Commonwealth Games.
The 12 players in Gold Coast are in top condition and should be ready to give their best shot in the tournament. Only the team captain, Zulkiflee Azmi, and Zharif Affandi have the experience playing in the Commonwealth Games as they are part of the 2014 squad. Another 10 players are living in their dream to play against some of the top team in the rugby 7s world.
Malaysia best finish in Commonwealth Games was back in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur as the team reached Plate semi-final. Malaysia won 3 out of 17 matches played since the sport was introduced back in 1998. 2018 will be the 5th time Malaysia qualified to play as the team only missed out 2006 edition, also in Australia.
The rugby 7s standard in Commonwealth Games is so high considering there are 10 teams who are the core team in the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series will compete in Gold Coast. South Africa will be one of the team to look for other than the host, Australia will fight for gold. The inform team, Fiji who just win the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens should also be the contender for the gold medal.
Only the top team will advance to the semi-final while the pool runner-up will move into the qualification round to determine the 5th to 8th rank.
Follow the Malaysia 7s journey on our web as we will bring the latest update on the match result via this link.
Malaysia will open the campaign against South Africa on 14th April before they end the Pool match against Papua New Guinee.
Photos courtesy of Saizul Hafifi