Despite losing to Korea for a second successive week, Malaysia’s head coach Brad Mika described Saturday’s atmosphere as special at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Having lost 50-12 in Incheon, Malaysia improved the score losing just 38-16 on home soil.
With a week’s break before home and away matches against last year’s champions Hong Kong, the former All Blacks gave his thoughts at the midway point of their competition.
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“We were our own worst enemy on Saturday,” said Mika.
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“There were a lot of errors which meant we couldn’t get any rhythm going. There was some good shape but we were inconsistent.
“The best thing about the first two matches was that we got better as a team as the weeks went on. It’s still a lot to work on but there are good learnings and growth for us.”
Mika was taking charge in his first Asia Rugby Championship as head coach and he is clearly enjoying his role.
“I am proud to coach and with our team, they are bunch of boys who are coachable and always keen to learn,” added Mika.
“They may not have as much experience as other teams but the want and heart is there. They are all round great blokes.
“If they can make these boys semi-pro and strengthen the local competition here in Malaysia then we have a chance as a union to go further with more exposure and experience.”
And what of playing in front of the home crowd?
“It is always special playing at home in front of families and friends and fans,” explained Mika.
“The players grow another arm and leg. The people of Malaysia are super supportive despite the results and they will always turn up in their numbers to cheer us on. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
The next home match will be against Hong Kong, another test for Malaysia to gain valuable experience on the world stage.
“Hong Kong is a class outfit,” said Mika.
“They are very well structured with a lot of experience. We will watch their games coming up and asses from there on what we need to do.”
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