PETALING JAYA: Unbeaten UiTM Lions are ready to kick into high gear when they take on UPM Angels in the quarter-finals of the Super League rugby meet at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on Saturday.
Lions, runners-up to Keris Conlay last year, have again hit the ground running, winning all their Group B matches. They beat ASAS RFC 21-17, Politeknik Merlimau 36-3, JLJ Armed Forces 27-21, Perak Police 23-6 and NS Wanderers 31-5.
Being unbeaten definitely adds pressure on the Lions, but coach Zamri Abdul Kahar Zamri sees it as an advantage and warns that they’re just getting warmed up.
On paper, Lions look good to win Saturday’s match. Angels go into the match after being handed a 22-12 defeat at the hands of Group A runners-up SSTMI last week. That brought their record to two wins and four losses out of six matches.
“If you look at it, SSTMI and Conlay are our toughest opponents, but that said, we can’t discount Angels ... anything can happen,” said Zamri.
“In the group stages, we went into those matches at less than 100% and were still able to carve out wins. So, we haven’t gone full throttle yet and we’re more than ready to kick things up a notch now.”
Although Lions will be without injured hooker Rahmat Fariz Khan and fullback Mohd Adzly Che Omar, Zamri is not too worried as he has enough depth in the squad to fill the void.
Moreover, he’s delighted that Fijian duo – Neisisasi Moala Nakia (inside centre) and Mosese Lawanivisu Nasilasila (outside centre), who are new to the Lions squad – showed their quality in the match against Wanderers on March 23.
“We started preparing for the tournament last November, so we expected to have a good run. Being unbeaten is great but I think we’re finally starting to come together tactically and the scoreline of the Wanderers match is proof of that. We’re definitely confident moving forward,” said Zamri.
In the other quarter-finals, Group B runners-up JLJ Armed Forces will take on Cobra (3pm) on Saturday while Group A runners-up SSTMI will square off against ASAS RFC (3pm) and Group A winners Keris Conlay are set to face NS Wanderers (6pm) on Sunday.