FROM a humble beginning of merely 45 teams, the KLS Bintang International Rugby 10s, formerly known as the BRC International Rugby 10s, is now being touted as the biggest junior tournament in Southeast Asia.
Entering its seventh edition, this year’s two-day tournament which will be held at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club in Kuala Lumpur on February 15 and 16 will boast a participation of 156 teams – 18 more than the previous year.
That makes up a total of 2,340 players who will battle it out in 10 different age group categories.
The tournament, which is also attracting international teams from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and Sri Lanka caters for kids from the Under-8 to the U-18 category.
“We are hoping to contend in four categories. Our U-14 and above squads are formidable,” said KL Saracens president Ian Johns.
“Last year we won the U-16 and U-18, as well as finished as runners-up in the U-14 and U-15.
“We made it to four finals last year, and are certainly seeking to do better this year.”
But for KL Sacrens, developing rugby at the grassroots level is what matters.
The club has already produced a number of quality players including Commonwealth Games-bound Danial Hamidi.
“It has been our objective to raise the profile of rugby in this country, it’s a brilliant game and we want more kids to participate in the sport as earliest as possible,” said Ian.
“Our kids are starting it late over here, it’s not until secondary schools that they are exposed to rugby.
“Parents are also skeptical of letting their children be involved in rugby, as the sport is viewed as physical sport, but that’s not the case because with proper training, the game can be very safe.
“We are pleased to see that the club has grown tremendously over the last few years, with over 400 currently registered active junior players.
“Our youngest member is just four-year-old!”.