With less than four minutes to go in their third and final match of this year’s Commonwealth Games, Malaysia finally scored a well-deserved try through Firdaus Tarmizi against Papua New Guinea.
A daunting task faced the Malaysians in Australia, coming up against defending Commonwealth Games champions South Africa, Scotland and Papua New Guinea.
But their own ambitions were met, lowering the score deficit as the day went on and they were rewarded with a try of their own thanks to a fine finish from Tarmizi.
Captain Zulkiflee Azmi was well aware of the challenge in front of them but knows his side will have gained a lot from their experience.
“We were really excited to play with some of the biggest names in rugby.
“It was a great experience, and to play in front of a full crowd like that was extra special. We really enjoyed the environment of the whole experience especially being in the Athletes’ Village and meeting many superstars.”
Following their gold medal at the SEA Games last year, and their promotion to the Asia Rugby Championship top division, rugby is on the up in Malaysia.
Playing at this year’s Commonwealth Games will only add to the exposure the team receives, and also set them to up to grow ahead of the Asian Games and Asia Rugby Sevens Series later this year.
“This Commonwealth Games, our team improved more on attacking and we were a lot more confident with ball in hand, and had lots of good phases of possession,” added Azmi.
“Mental toughness is a very important thing too. We were a little nervous but this is normal and we learned how to counter that.
“After these matches we gained a lot of experience and insight into how world class teams play, how they defend, and it will be help us to play in the Asian Games.”
For try-scorer Tarmizi, it will also be an experience never to forget.
“The team are really proud of my performance, however there’s still room for me to improve myself,” explained Tarmizi.
“It meant the world to score a try for Malaysia on the highest podium of my career and it will always be one of the the greatest moments for me to remember having the team together celebrating the try.”