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Rugby juniors display true grit to retain title

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 19/8/2019 Fadhli Ishak
a group of football players posing for a picture: The national  team celebrate after winning the Asia Under-18 Sevens title in China yesterday. Malaysia beat China in the final. © Provided by Media Prima The national team celebrate after winning the Asia Under-18 Sevens title in China yesterday. Malaysia beat China in the final.

THE national juniors showed true grit to retain their Asia Rugby Under-18 Sevens title against hosts China in Kunming yesterday.

Malaysia played China twice yesterday, beating them 19-14 in their final round-robin game and 14-10 in the final in come-from-behind victories.

In the final, China took less than a minute to get on the scoresheet via a Qin Han try and then extended their lead through a Yang Xiao effort five minutes later for a 10-0 lead at half-time. Neither tries were converted.

It was, however, all Malaysia in the second half.

Faiq Aslah Satar scored the national squad’s first try two minutes after the restart while Suhairi Effendi Othman scored the winner three minutes later.

Fuad Saleh and Eddie Ariff Ferdaus Freedy successfully converted the tries.

Malaysia had trailed China 14-12 with less than five minutes on the clock in their round-robin game earlier in the day.

Malaysia Rugby honorary secretary Amrul Hazarin Hamidon praised the team for their never-say-die attitude.

“We knew China would be strong this year but our boys showed tremendous skill and character to come back and win both games.

“To win a tournament for the first time is not easy but to defend it is even harder, so I have to congratulate them for retaining the title,” said Amrul yesterday.

On Saturday, Malaysia defeated Taiwan (22-7), Hong Kong (21-12) and South Korea (28-21) in the round-robin stage.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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