Saturday, June 18, 2005

Chance for our schoolboys to face foreign teams in Cobra 10s

PETALING JAYA: The country’s young rugby talent will get a chance to lock horns with their foreign counterparts for the first time in the schools competition of the Cobra 10s invitational tournament, which will be played at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya from Sept 9-11.

The Combined Old Boys Rugby Association (Cobra) vice-president, Tommy Pereira, said that the Under-16 schools competition would have a team each from Britain, Singapore and Thailand.

“St Andrews of Singapore have accepted our invitation to compete in the tournament,” he said.

“The schools competition will have eight teams and we plan to stage a qualifying tournament to decide the five local schools in the fray.

“It should be exciting for the local schools this time. They will be exposed to a higher level of competition and also get the chance to see where they stand against the foreign sides.”

The schools competition, which was introduced last year, will be held on Sept 9 and the classification matches will be played simultaneously with the main event on Sept 10 and 11.

The eight schools who featured in the tournament last year were Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Royal Military College, Alam Shah School, SM Sains Selangor, SMK Sultan Sulaiman, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and SM Tunku Jaafar. BJSS emerged as champions.

As for the main competition, the entries will remain at 16 teams and they will be fighting for the prize money of US$30,000 (RM114,000).

Samoa’s Marist St Joseph took home the title last year, crushing New Zealand Ponsonby 29-5 in the final.

The efforts to improve the standards of the rugby playing schools in the country are in line with Cobra’s long-term plan to help develop the game at grassroots level.

Cobra launched their nationwide three-year schools’ development programme this year with the England-based Penguins RFC providing the coaching expertise.

Their aim is to get teachers involved in the sport and the target is to have 360 of them as qualified Level 1 coaches at the end of the programme to train Under-15 players in schools nationwide.

Cobra will be inviting two schools for a rugby camp in Hulu Langat this weekend.

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