DON'T MESS WITH MELAKA
By Paul Dolan
Richard Bray reports from Melaka
Arriving at the D’Rhinos home turf on Saturday morning the Tiger U12’s were faced with a clear blue sky, hot sun and a hard baked pitch. Familiar names such as the KLSaracens, the hosts D’Rhinos, Bukit Beruang and the Eagles who pipped us in the Bangkok 10s earlier in the year, were complemented by several unfamiliar teams, all adding to the spice.
Following time honoured tradition the boys started off slowly in the first game but battled hard for a 5-5 draw against the Pirates, a potential super try ruled out that would have given us the win, adding some confusion to proceedings [despite photo evidence!!].
Next up the Eagles and a romping win to put to bed the defeat in Bangkok, with the forwards crashing over for 5 unanswered tries.
More scoreboard confusion followed but a 17-12 win over a tall and pacy Red Eagles team got the boys buzzing, the backs seemingly jealous of the forwards getting all the glory, finally getting over the line. Next up was a solid win over local boys Bukit Beruang with a slick all round performance.
Finally Jaishun, and a must win to secure a top 2 place, the boys unable to pull back a two try deficit despite intense pressure and a ferocious final 5 minutes.
Day two and thankfully cooler weather gave a chance for some silverware and a first up meeting with Pernu Dragons, our forwards again proving too strong and running in 3 tries.
A long wait allowed the boys to catch some other games and support the U8’s and U10’s before a Bowl final and a rematch against the Red Eagles. After an early scare and some try saving tackling on the line the boys ran in four unanswered tries to take the win. Some smart tactical changes from coach Jerome saw some forwards having a run in the back line and causing mayhem.
Overall it was an enjoyable weekend and good to see all 15 of the squad get game time and thankfully there were no serious injuries despite the hard ground. They showed some real maturity and commitment and were able to handle physical teams playing fast and aggressive rugby and organised themselves well on the pitch.
Finally, thanks to all the parents for their taxi services, coffee and food runs, and of course the Tigers official photographer Suk. Last but not least thanks to coach Jerome who has made such an impact with the team, and who is sadly soon to leave us for Vietnam.
Bon Voyage, Au Revoir.