UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia (USM) specially brought together rugby talents, nicknamed Baby Jokers, displayed championship material in the inaugural 10’s Rugby Challenge.
The two-day challenge which ended at the Minden grounds recently, saw the USM lads upstage the bigger boys, which included favourites Klang Municipality (MP Klang).
The Klang side had lived up to expectations when they maintained their unbeaten run to march into the finals but were shocked with the stout performance of the young ‘gladiators’.
Baby Jokers punished the overconfident Klang boys the moment they let their guards down.
The Baby Jokers registered the opening try with Mohd Firdaus Tarmizi, who weaved past the defence to place the ball right under the post.
The Klang Municipality retaliated when play resumed after a break and they came hunting for that equalising goal.
However, the Baby Jokers displayed their defensive qualities again to frustrate their marauding rivals.
With the air horn signalling full time, Baby Jokers delivered the second blow with a neat try by Mohd Shariff Saiful to end the game at 12-0.
When Wan Izzuddin Ismail was adjudged as the tournament’s Best Player, it was like icing on the cake for the Baby Jokers.
Team manager Mohd Saiful Hafifi Mohd Noor was overjoyed with his boys’ success.
“With 32 teams eyeing the prestigious trophy and taking into consideration the presence of outstanding teams like Navy Orca, Police Perak, X-Semsira, UPM and UPNM, I had only set a reasonable target of reaching the semi-final.
“But my players went on to prove that they were worth more, earning the RM2,000 cash prize and the glittering trophy. I’m very proud of my young players,” he added.
Baby Jokers, however, may not have the chance of defending their crown next year as the university is contemplating on replacing their Rugby 10’s with Rugby 7’s instead.
USM media officer Mohd Ikhwan Zulkaflee explained that since USM already has its Rugby 10’s competition hosted by its engineering faculty in Nibong Tebal, it would be logical for the main campus to have a Rugby 7’s.
Q-finals: Serdang Angels bt Navy Orca (13-0); MP Klang bt Sahoca (5-0); Baby Jokers bt X-Sensira (33-0); Lion Legends bt UIAM Mustang (11-8).
S-finals: MP Klang bt Serdang Angles (7-5); Baby Jokers bt Lion Legends (13-0).
Cup Final: Baby Jokers bt MP Klang (12-0).
Other Finals: Shield: Perlis Police bt Bukit Indah Greens; Bowl: Tuah Melaka bt USM Jokers (5-0); Plate: Penang Police bt Kuala Muda RC (22-14).