THE downpour over the weekend did not dampen the fighting spirit of the players at the Victoria Institution Premier Rugby 10s competition (VI Premier 10s).
With an additional 16 teams taking part in this year’s tournament to make it 48 – split between the Under-15 and Under-17 categories, each match was played for a duration of just 15 minutes and the competition among the teams was fierce.
Given the shorter match period, the teams had no option but employ their attacking strategies right from the word go; making every match worth the watch.
Despite the initial high hopes for VI’s Under-17 team, they were forced to settle for third place after suffering a defeat by a single try against defending champions Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) during the closely contested semi-finals.
Even though MCKK looked strong after beating the home team, they had to settle for a second place finish when they went up against Johor’s SMK Sri Mersing, who emerged champions.
The loyal supporters, family and teachers of VI could still rejoice when their Under-15 boys team took the Cup title in the finals against the powerhouse SMK Dato Abdul Razak from Negri Sembilan.
For the first time this year, the Cup winners and runners-up in both age groups took home cash prizes of RM1,000 and RM500, respectively.
Victoria Institute Rugby Club president and tournament organising chairman Nik Mohd Sidek Nik Jaffar said the Under-15 players did well to win the Cup, improving on their third place performance last year.
He added that the revival of rugby in the premier schools in recent years have contributed to the higher quality of play at this year’s competition as well as the increase in the number of participating teams.
“We were supposed to have a few more teams from Thailand, Australia and Singapore but the tournament schedule happened during their holiday festivals like Songkran so next year we will have to choose a date that can accommodate more foreign teams,” he said.
The best Under-17 player award went to Afif Nizamudin from SMK Sri Mersing and best Under-15 player was Nabil Yahya from Victoria Institution.