KUALA LUMPUR: Favourites Negri Sembilan Wanderers and Cobra are tipped to meet in the final of this weekend's Jonah Jones Rugby Sevens which will take place at the Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara.
In the draw held yesterday, Cobra were drawn with RMR Warrior, Langkawi Eagles and MHS Old Boys in Group A. NS Wanderers will have Blackhawks, ASAS RC and DBI Warlords for company in Group F.
Two Singaporean teams – Bukit Timah Barbarians and Straits Pirates – are also among the title contenders in the field of 24 teams.
The Barbarians are the seeded team in Group B which also consist of RMN Orca, OPA and MAS Cougars. In Group C, the Pirates will vie with Hot Dogs, KSS Kings RC and SMS Old Boys for the sole automatic quarter-final place.
Group D will have Bunga Raya RC, Ex-Angels, MDHS RC and Kedah Blues while Bandaraya Dragons, Police United, Guam Typhoons and Grease Monkeys are in Group E.
Besides the group champions, the two best second-placed teams will also make the last eight.
Royal Selangor Club rugby section convenor Richard Dutton said: “Apart from Singapore, there are also a team from Guam (Guam Typhoons) who will be taking part for the first time. The team comprised of national players who are in the midst of preparing for the World Cup qualifiers in Sri Lanka but we do not know their actual strength.”
However, he feels the two top local sides – NS Wanderers and Cobra – should make it to the final barring any surprises.
“We also have to watch out for Bukit Timah Barbarians and Straits Pirates, if they come with their internationals,” he added.
RSC Hot Dogs, the defending Plat champions, will be aiming to make the Cup semi-finals.
The organisers will allow each club to field only one semi-professional player this year.
Group B: Bukit Timah Barbarians, RMN Orca, OPA, MAS Cougars.
Group C: Straits Pirates, Hot Dogs, KSS Kings RC, SMS Old Boys.
Group D: Bunga Raya RC, Ex-Angels, MDHS RC, Kedah Blues.
Group E: Bandaraya Dragons, Police United, Guam Typhoons, Grease Monkeys.
Group F: Negri Sembilan Wanderers, Blackhawks, ASAS RC, DBI Warlords.
Group B: HK Academy Dragons, UTM Tech Pirates, MARA Professional College, KL Koboys.
Group C: IJED, ATMA, Sunway Stallions, ASAS.
Group D: Serdang Angels, Prince of Songkhla University, Marlin Juniors, Uniten.