PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) match against Hong Kong on Saturday will be Dineshwaran Krishnan’s (pic) last national team assignment for the year.
The 1.98m lock, who is the captain, will be reporting for duty with his Tokyo-based side Hino Red Dolphins as the Japan Top League kicks off on June 22.
The player fondly known as “Dugro” said he has already spoken to the Malaysia Rugby Union (MRU) about his decision.
“The Hong Kong match will be my last. I’ve signed a three-year contract with Hino but I have yet to train or attend their pre-season camp,” said Dineshwaran.
“I want to be with them for the start of the season. They were kind enough to let me play for the national team but it’s time for me to join them.
“I’ll head to Japan after the match in Hong Kong as I want to be available for Hino’s first match against Panasonic Wild Knights on June 22.”
Dineshwaran said it was tough to leave the team halfway in the competition.
“It’s sad because I’m the skipper. The players look up to me and leaving them does not feel right but I have to take my career into account.”
For the game against Hong Kong, Dineshwaran had some concerns as the players were returning from the Hari Raya festivities.
“I was surprised that they attended training on Saturday in better shape than before. Fitness wise, they are good. That was the main worry when they went for the Raya break.
“Probably the rest did wonders to their body. Everybody is eager to play and there are no fitness issues at all.”
Asked about his thoughts on Hong Kong, the reigning ARC champions, he said: “I’ve watched their recent games, and I have to say their number 11 (Conor Hartley) and scrumhalf Liam Slatem are players that we need to keep a close eye on.
“We will be doing a video review on how we can combat them. It will be tough, but we’ll do our best on Saturday.”
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