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Monday December 3, 2012

SMSS settle for second place

THE Federal Territories Schools Sports Council (MSSWP) Under-15 rugby champions SM Sains Selangor (SMSS) settled as the runners-up at the national schools (MSSM) meet in Ipoh, Perak recently.

SMSS went down 14-21 to Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak (SDAR) from Seremban, Negri Sembilan in the final.

SMSS captain Asri Azhar contributed all the points but he could not celebrate a perfect end in his second and final appearance leading his side in the Under-15 age-group.

After staying in contention with the score levelled at 7-7 in the first half of 15-minute duration, Asri admitted they struggled to fend off the challenges from their opponents and allowed SDAR to penetrate their backline to score two early converted tries at the start of the second half.

“We lost focus after the interval. It was an uphill task for us to claw back from the deficit. We tried to catch up but it was too late even when we scored another converted try in the closing stages of the match,” said Asri.

SDAR chalked up their second victory of the season over SMSS after they also prevented SMSS from claiming the top spot in their SMSS 10s home tournament earlier in the year.

Despite registering a 14-5 victory over SM Sains Hulu Selangor (Semashur) of Selangor to book their place in the final, it was a painful experience for Asri when he lost his two front teeth as a result of a head-on collision in the encounter.

“The incident happened in the first half but I carried on playing because it did not hurt that much when my mind was just concentrating on winning the match. I only felt the discomfort after the match.

“Even after the mishap, I did not want to miss the chance to feature for my side in the final,” said Asri, who considers the sports mouth-guard as a necessary safety precaution rugby kit in the future.

SMSS were in an impressive form without conceding a point in three preliminary matches.

They tamed Kelantan’s SM Sains Machang 64-0 before they scored another convincing 38-0 win over SM Sains Kepala Batas of Penang and registered a 19-0 victory Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Gombak from Selangor.

SMSS bounced back from 0-5 deficit before they prevailed 12-5 over Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Kuantan (Intek) in the last 16 and went on to beat Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) with 14-7 win in the quarter-finals.

SMSS coach Raja Idris Raja Ali said they were delighted to surpass their initial target of reaching the semi-finals and improved on their previous performance finishing third at the tournament in Malacca last year.

SMSS were the winners in the 10-a-side contest of the Under-15 age-group at the MSSM in Perlis two years ago.

“It was a satisfying campaign to a very long season. Going into the tournament, we knew that we had a stronger side to shoulder our challenge. We were very competitive but lacked the finishing instinct to get across the line in the first half of the final,” he added.

Meanwhile, SMSS hooker Afif Kamarul-jumaat was also the recipient of the Best Forward award.

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