THE Royal Selangor Club (RSC) women’s rugby team turned one and they ushered their anniversary with a fund-raising initiative recently.
They hosted a dinner to collect RM25,000 to support their aim of gaining exposure by featuring in regular tournaments this season.
Among the events lined up for the occasion were sale of merchandise, raffles and auction of rugby collectors’ items.
The side captained by Lim Chin Wei are hoping to field a team for their first appearance in a 15-a-side tournament at the Singapore women’s league in May.
Currently, they have 40 players aged between 15 and 35 years attending training three times a week.
They are going through the paces under two trainers Raimi Yusof and Haflil Feisol who are adopting the training methods drawn up by Kiwi Deano Herewini.
Raimi said it was an uphill task to attract the fairer sex to take up the robust contact sport when they began the programme a year ago.
“Safety was their main concern because they were afraid of getting hurt. We had to educate them with the right techniques as an injury prevention measure and minimise the impact when they get into tricky situations. Most of them are beginners from various sports background. We also wanted them to have fun on the pitch while they learn the basics from scratch. But, they are showing keen interest and commitment to pursue it to a higher level. Besides working adults, we have foreign students from colleges and international schools in the team,” he added.
During the recent celebration, they also recognised the accomplishments of three best performers in the growing squad.
The trio were Normasirah Zahari (Best Player) Dianatasha Isnarian Mustapar (Most Improved Player) and Nor Halina Mohd Zaini (Most Committed Player).
Swedish women’s international Susanne Olovsson, who has been residing here for the past six years, is also serving as team manager.
“We are delighted that they have achieved tremendous progress over a short period. They are picking up the game quickly with the opportunity to play. It is matter of time before they catch up. My role is to help them to read the game better and strengthen their positioning on the pitch from a woman’s perspective. I am very fortunate that the club has allowed me to play for the men’s first team. And I wanted to contribute back to the club by helping to groom a women’s team,” she added.
RSC rugby section conveyor Richard Dutton said they were providing a good structure for the women’s team to continue club’s strong tradition in rugby.
“The players are showing high work rate in training with swift moves and hard tackles. They will need to compete in more tournaments to gauge their strength against stronger teams. Thailand and Singapore are the two formidable sides in the region and the outing in the Singapore league will serve as a benchmark for them to move forward,” he added.
Last year, they came in third at the Borneo 10s in Sandakan behind champions Thailand and runners-up United States in the women’s section.
Besides appearing in two exhibition matches at the Cobra 10s and Jonah Jones tournaments, they also took on Laos and Kowloon from Hong Kong in two friendly matches.
Recently, they were the semi-finalists in the plate competition at the Langkawi Touch meet scoring two wins, a draw and two losses in the earlier group stage against other men’s team.
“Physically, they were fitter compared with other teams. They kept their structured formation on the pitch to execute their moves in phases. They also gelled well together with the constant communication,” said Raimi.