Under 18 perfect run to the title
10 December 2018 – Malaysia rugby fan celebrates the second title for the national team on the Asia Rugby level yesterday. Malaysia 7s Under 18 team lifted the Under 18 title as they went unbeaten to top the table of 7 competing teams.
Malaysia started the first day with a great result as they overcame another pre-tournament favourite, Hong Kong with 31 – 5 scoreline. That certainly set the positive tone to the team as they secured two more wins. Nasrul Hakim’s boys continue their excellent performance in their second match to completely dominate and demolished South Korea 47 – 5 in the second game. They ended the first day in the second place behind China after they beat another South East Asia nation, Laos 53 – 0 in the last Asia Rugby 7s Under 18 match for the first day.
China top the table on the first day. They won 3 out of 4 matches with the win over Qatar, Laos and Uzbekistan but drew their third match against Hong Kong.
There was not much that Qatar can do to stop Malaysia on the second day. They went down 0 – 34 as Malaysia secured the fourth straight wins.
Malaysia faced China in their fifth match. That became the deciding game as China needs to beat Malaysia to have any chance of lifting the title. It started really well for Malaysia as Shafiq Ikhmal race to score Malaysia first try in less than a minute after the game started. Things did not go to Malaysia plan as China remained calm to produce their best game and scored 2 tries for them to lead at the end of the first half. They were first was awarded a penalty try before Jia Bowei scored China second try of the match. They went into the halftime break with Malaysia trailing 7 – 12.
Things got worst for Malaysia as China used their better physical condition to scored their third try, against through Jia Bowei.
Malaysia produced the comeback of the tournament. Shafiq Ikhmal scored his second try of the match to ignite Malaysia comeback on the 11th minutes. Player of the tournament, Faiq Aslah Abdul Satar became the national hero as he scored Malaysia 3 try with less than 10 seconds to go from the full-time Shafiq Ikhmal calmly completed the conversion to give Malaysia the full 3 points as well as the Asia Rugby 7s Under 18 title to the host nation. Malaysia beat China 19 – 17.
Malaysia last match against Uzbekistan was basically played to complete the schedule. They beat Uzbekistan 40 – 0 from 6 tries. Amazingly, all the 6 tries came from different players.
The host nation, Malaysia, crowned as the champion with 100% record. 6 wins out of 6 put them at the top. China finished as the runner-up even though they were tied with 15 points with Hong Kong as they have a much better point differential.
All the matches took place at the Educity Stadium, Johor, Malaysia.
Photos by Fauzi Saim and Khairul Akmal for Ragbionline