The Asia Rugby Championship swings into action next weekend with six matches to determine which side continues their Rugby World Cup dream.
Malaysia are one of three sides with a chance to progress alongside the more fancied Korea and Hong Kong.
For captain Mohd Syahir Asraf Bin Rosli the next six weeks represent a huge opportunity for his side, competing against higher-ranked Asian nations with their first two matches being played at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
“We all know that Korea and Hong Kong have been playing in the top division for so long, and are very experienced sides,” said Asraf.
“We will need to focus and place a priority on our technical, physical and mental set ups as best we can. We will give our all during this campaign against two very good sides.
“I am so grateful and really happy to be competing. I couldn’t even imagine getting the opportunity to compete in the premier division and I know every rugby fan in Malaysia must be so excited to see our team getting there and to play against the best teams in Asia.”
As well as captaining the Malaysian side, Asraf is a PE teacher at Epsom College Campus in Malaysia, teaching and coaching children in various sports.
Malaysia start their campaign with a home match against Korea, before hosting Hong Kong at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Then they travel to Korea and Hong Kong to see which side progresses to play the Cook Islands in the next phase of the qualification process.
“It is a very big role to both motivate and educate all of my team mates,” added Asraf.
“We want to be together as one throughout this process, and I am always trying to do my best for each one of them.”
It’s no secret either that rugby is growing in Asia and with Rugby World Cup 2019 around the corner there is an opportunity to enhance the growth.
Malaysia have been central to that through their own Get Into Rugby initiations, their continued form in the Asia Rugby Championship and even with their sevens side winning gold at the SEA Games and competing at the Commonwealth Games.
“Rugby has grown up so well in Malaysia, and it’s greatly getting support from many aspects,” explaind Asraf. “Eventually it will become the biggest and best sport among top countries in Asia.
“Personally I would really thank all the players for the positive improvement, their efforts and hard work and also Malaysia Rugby Union has put their best efforts in to help grow the game.
“Their passion and continuous effort to ensure rugby in Malaysia gets bigger with development and education all over the country is great.
“I wish and hope that rugby in Malaysia would be continuously kept, building up character and becoming a famous sport in the country.”
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