Kelantan Wins National 7’s Rugby Championship

Kelantan defeated Perak 19-14, to emerge champion in the National 7-a-side Rugby Championship (National Sevens 2017) at Ipoh Padang, Ipoh on Sunday, September 17.

The win enabled the East Coast team to wrest the Ung Khek Cheow Cup securing its fifth 7’s title. Kelantan was runner-up last year losing to Terengganu in the final.

Kelantan began with a fiery start and raced to a 19-0 lead at interval with three tries and two conversions.

Kelantan got its first try one minute into play by Muhammad Zulhisham Rosli.

This was followed by another two tries by Mohamad Khairul Abdillah Ramli and Muhammad Faris Che Salim, in succession. Four points were contributed by Mohamad Nazreen Fitri Nasrudin via two conversions.

However, home team Perak, with vociferous support from over 2000 spectators, never gave up. The homesters rose to the occasion in the second half to narrow the gap with two tries, a conversion and a penalty.

Unfortunately, six minutes before the game end, Kelantan’s captain Zulkiflee Azmi was given a yellow card.

The distraction allowed Perak to score a penalty. They kept trying as Kelantan had only six players.

Perak were relentlessly in their assault till the end of the game. They were finally rewarded when Muhammad Amiruddin Razali made a brilliant try at the 14th minute of the game.

Kelantan with five SEA Games 2017 players gold medallists managed to keep the score at 19-14 till the final whistle. Team captain, Zulkiflee Azmi, who was nominated the tournament’s Best Player, walked away with a RM500 cash prize.

Kelantan’s coach Khairul Azhar Md Noor was satisfied with his players’ overall performance.

“It’s very competitive this year. We almost lost to Perak in the final. They made an amazing comeback in the second half.

“However, my team did well to reclaim the title although it was a close win for us,” he told reporters after the game.

Kelantan won RM5000 while Perak received RM3000. Kedah and Sabah finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

Kelantan Under-20 team was also crowned champion beating Labuan 21-7, while Selangor and Johor won third and fourth, respectively.

The annual tournament made history when it inaugurated a new category for women. Kedah etched its name in rugby history by being the first ever Malaysian Rugby Union women’s National 7’s champion.

Kedah downed Terengganu 15-12 in the final. Sabah won the plate championship after beating Selangor 19-5 in their final round robin match.

Nabilah Hamudin

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