MALAYSIA TAKE BIG STEP TOWARDS ARC PROMOTION
Malaysia staged a sterling performance against United Arab Emirates (UAE) to claim the most important win in the 2015 Asian Rugby Championship (ARC). The clash between the two nations was labelled as the deciding match of the season as UAE was ranked much higher than Malaysia before the championship starts.
The Malaysians were in full of confidence after their big win over Chinese Taipei in their previous match. They took the lead in the 13th minute from a try by Atunasia Lacadamu Takubu. However, they were unlucky to miss the conversion and a penalty after that.
UAE reorganized and pushed the Malaysians deep into their own area. Edward Lewsey gave UAE the equalizer with a try seven minutes later. Hassan Al Noobi made no mistake to put UAE ahead with the conversion.
Malaysia was in front again in the 25th minutes when Mohamad Syarif Sudin scored a penalty. But UAE seemed to know what to do against the host. The Malaysian players’ characters were really tested by the Emirates. Jaen Botes gave UAE a good 12-8 lead with a try ten minutes before half time.
Malaysia came on for the second half with stronger determination. However, they were stunned by another try by Jaen. A conversion by Hassan put UAE 19-8 up within four minutes after the restart. It could have ended Malaysia’s fighting chance but the players played brilliantly after that. They were quick to close the gaps and contested against the physically bigger opponent.
Malaysia suddenly managed to break the Emirates in the 49th minute. Atunasia accelerated on the far left to get another try for the host. Malaysia kept on pressing UAE to the limit. Mohamad Aiman Jamaluddin finally broke through the Emirates’ defence for another try in the 58th minutes, and Mohamad Syarif scored the winning conversion from a very difficult angle.
UAE tried recover again, but the Malaysians looked fit and ready for it. Hassan failed to deliver the most needed points for UAE as he missed two late penalties awarded. Malaysia held on tightly to record one of the best ever victory in their rugby history.
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