Hosts Malaysia and Sri Lanka ran out convincing winners in their respective ARC Division I matches today in Ipoh, Malaysia. Sri Lanka easily beat UAE, 33 – 17 while the hosts dispatched a lackluster Philippines, 40 – 8.
In the first match, Sri Lanka had to fight for all of their points in the first half as they lead by only 1 point going into the 1st half break, 18 – 17 ahead. The physicality of the encounter in the 1st half saw both teams switch the lead often as seasoned campaigners, Marija and Ranjan scored the Tuskers tries while Moore and Powell were the try scorers for UAE.
But the first half was dominated by the constant infringements by both teams as referee Charlie Brown was left with little option but to send a flurry of players from both sides to the sinbin.
The second half saw the Lankans dominate all facets of play and constantly put the UAE under pressure, which lead to a couple of superb long range counter attack tries to Keegal and Dissanayake and a final score of 33 – 17.
Assistant Coach, Rajeew Perera was pleased with the victory, commenting, “I think we were a lot better in our set pieces, we stuck to our game plan and to our structures, so overall, I think we were much better. We believe that our backline was much improved today and our counter attack where we moved the ball into the correct spaces was also very pleasing.
Perera is also looking forward to the encounter with Malaysia on Saturday, “I think it will be a very tough game for us as Malaysia is playing very well at the moment, but we will need to come up with a new game plan and structure and different game pattern as they have speed in their backline and are much bigger in the forwards, but we will go away and plan tonight for another big match on Saturday”.
And in the second match of the day, Malaysia lived up to the hype as they put the Philippines side to the sword not allowing the Volcanoes to gain any traction in the game as they powered their way up front securing a distinct advantage in the forwards and through a steady flow of possession, bought the home crowd to their feet with some electrifying ball movement and end to end free-flowing rugby culminating in some majestic tries.
With early tries to Gavidi and Muzhaimey and Sani and a further try to winger Wye Wye Wong just before half-time, a 25 – 3 lead was just reward to the hosts as they revelled in front of their home town support.
But the try of the day saw Jamaluddin cap off a 90-metre sweeping move that involved a number of offloads, slick passing and a confidence that is seeing the home side play some absolutely champagne style rugby.
Head coach for Malaysia, Lee Nyuk Fah was also in agreement, “I am very happy as the boys won the game and cut out a lot of the mistakes that plagued us in the first match and capitalized on the oppositions mistakes. Our boys showed composure today due to their confidence levels and they are desperate to go to another level and win this Championship two years in a row”.
Saturday will see the top of the table clash between Malaysia and Sri Lanka kick off at 16.07 in front of a vociferous home crowd that may be the difference in what promises to be a thrilling climax to the ARC Division I.
Asia Rugby Championship 2017 Div. 1
#ARC2017 D1 #RWC2019 Qualifiers
Match 3 Sri Lanka 33 VS UAE 17
Match 4 Malaysia 40 Vs Philippines 8
photo Credit: Asia Rugby/Tigers Super Sports Media