Monday, July 14, 2014

RUGBY: No inferiority complex

GROUPED with powerhouses Samoa, Wales and to a lesser extent, Papua New Guinea, a string of heavy beatings awaits the national team at the Commonwealth Games this month.

Coach Yusli Ramli, however, insists his charges are not going to Glasgow just to make up the numbers or become the whipping boys in what is one of the toughest international competitions after the World Cup and World Sevens Series.

“Yes, we all know that these teams are some of the best in the sport but you have to have some sort of self belief going into the competition,” said Yusli, whose men have been on training-cum-competition stints in Australia and South Africa earlier this season.

“Obviously, winning games will be tough, especially in the group stage but we do not want to make a fool of ourselves and will do our best to give these bigger teams a run for their money.

“We have had a solid chance to prepare this time and what I want the boys to do is play to their full potential and leave it all on the pitch. We should not leave any room for regrets.”

Captained by the ever dependable Syahir Asraf Rosli (of Cobra), the team have a good blend of experience and pace with Keris Conlay and Serdang Angels star Faridzal Ismail and Zulkiflee Azmi also in the mix.

The team are arguably one of the strongest Malaysia has had over the past decade and have the potential to notch a top-four finish at the Incheon Asian Games later this year.

But for now Yusli will be pleased with a top-12 finish from the 16 teams competing in Scotland which requires them to at least win one game in the classification matches.

Achieving it would somewhat make up for the disappointment of losing badly in all four matches in New Delhi four years ago.

New Zealand have won the competition at every edition since the sport was introduced at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur games, and are again heavy favourites to win a fifth on the trot.

Australia, South Africa, Samoa, England and Wales are the other teams expected to challenge.

By Fadhli Ishak - NST

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