Kuala Lumpur: The recent haze surrounding the country has kept foreign clubs away from the 17th International Power Royal Sevens 2015 Rugby tournament on Oct 17-18 at the Seremban Municipal Ground but not a good number of Fijians who will form the back bone of local teams. Eight-time champions NS Wanderers will have the services of prop Ropate Mokuvakaca, scrumhalf Viliame Waqnidroha and winger Ratu Orisi in their quest to win the 20-team club division title for a record ninth time.But the numbers are more as most clubs have engaged Fijians as well.
The Patron of Negeri Sembilan Rugby Union, Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Laxamana Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar, said: “This month is rugby month. With the World Cup in progress in England, the timing of the 17thInternational Power Royal Sevens is just perfect.”
“Rugby is like a war, easy to start, difficult to stop…..and almost impossible to forget. In this context, the International Power Royal Sevens is very much close to our hearts with great memories of the last 16 editions in our minds. We can still expect a fantastic challenge from the local clubs despite the shortcomings,” added Tunku Naquiyuddin.
He was speaking at a press conference announcing the tournament and cheque presentation fromtitle sponsors Bata Malaysia Sdn Bhd Financial Director, Duncan Cowe, who was joined by the company’s senior manager, Dato James Selvaraj. Representatives from other sponsors namely Nestle, 100 Plus, Negeri Sembilan Sports Council, Westports, National Sports Council, Orix, Can-One, Cement Industries of Malaysia (CIMA), LEKAS, Kimgres and Bina Terbit were also present.
The global war on currency and the unexpected hazy conditions surrounding this part of Southeast Asian region, particularly in Malaysia, Singapore and neighbouring Indonesia, said Tunku Naquiyuddin, has led to a ‘cold reception’ from foreign clubs.
This year’s edition of the tournament will witness only the Clubs and Schools category contested. Among others vying in the club challenge are defending champions Iskandar Raiders, ASAS, Cobra Blacks, KerisConlay, Royal Selangor Club and Polis Bersatu to name a few.
However, in the schools division, Islamia College from Cape Town, South Africa will be the only foreign entry among the 16 teams in the Under-16 age-group competition.
NSRU president, Abdul JalilBorhanuddin, said: “Rugby is just not a sport. It is a way of life. This is what makes the International Power Royal Sevens very special as every member in various departments of the organising committee, and volunteers, have worked hard to see its success.”
“The International Power Royal Sevens has a rich vein of history with new champions emerging. In one of the most exciting Royal Sevens Final last year, Iskandar Raiders defeated Cobra Club 24-19 to claim the title. This year we hope to see new teams light up the Sevens,” added Abdul Jalil.
For the record, apart from NS Wanders winning the championships eight times, Cobra Club emerged winners in 1999 and 2011 while Sandakan Eagles triumphed in 2006 and 2010. The other winners were Bantura Orange (2001), Staroba (2002), Chinese Taipei (2003) and Iskandar Raiders (2014).
Royal Selangor Club
Zaaba Old Boys
Grouping Schools Division
Sains Tuanku Jaafar
Sains Hulu Selangor
Tuanku Muhammad School
Sekolah Alam Shah
King George V
Johor Rugby Academy
Sekolah Dato Abdul Razak.