MALAYSIA captured the Rugby 7s gold in scintillating style – outplaying 2015 winners Singapore 22-7 in the final at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Stadium in Kelana Jaya.
Cheered on by a vociferous 10,000 crowd, Malaysia made light of the absence of key forward Muhd Siddiq Amir Jalil, who broke his nose in Saturday’s win over the Philippines on Saturday, as they scored four tries and one conversion yesterday.
Singapore managed just one try and one conversion.
Mohamad Nur Azri Azmi was the toast of the Malaysian team with two tries in the second half (11th and 13th minutes) following touchdowns by Muhammad Azwan Zuwairi Mat (first) and Muhammad Zulhisham Rasli (sixth) before the break.
Azwan added two points by converting Zulhisham’s try.
Singapore’s Nicholas Yau Yu Hong scored a fourth-minute try, which Marah Moehammad Ishraf converted.
Thailand defeated the Philippines 26-7 for the bronze.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak presented the medals to both the men and women’s teams.
National men’s coach Saizul Hafifi Mohd Noor was delighted with the win.
“This is the first time I’m in charge of the men’s team for the SEA Games.
“It feels great to win the gold in our own backyard.
“Credit to the players for their outstanding performance,” he said.
There was more joy for Malaysia when the women’s team clinched their first-ever rugby medal by edging the Philippines 7-5 in the bronze medal playoff.
It was sweet revenge for Malaysia, who lost 22-0 to the Philippines at the same stage in the 2015 Singapore Games.
Yesterday, Malaysia scored a third-minute try through Siti Farhanita Maddin and Rozliana Mohd Ridwan made the conversion.
The Philippines fought back to score a try through Tanya Louise Bird in the second half but Malaysia held on.
National women’s coach Nik Safuan Ismade Nik Man described winning the bronze as “a new beginning” for women’s rugby in Malaysia.
“We have talented players and they proved it here.
“Euphrasia (Anne Cralis) is only 19 but she showed tremendous character and bravery to play against the Philippines despite an injured elbow,” he said.