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20 teams coming for Borneo Sevens in Sandakan
Published on: Sunday, March 03, 2019
By: Winnie Kasmir
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20 teams coming for Borneo Sevens in Sandakan
SANDAKAN: Twenty teams from 12 countries will be competing in this year’s Borneo Sevens International Clubs Rugby Tournament to be held at the Eagles Rugby Club on March 23-24

State Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Frankie Poon in announcing the details of the tournament, also praised Eagles Rugby Club for their efforts in successfully bringing such a high level tournament to Sabah, particularly Sandakan. 

“Over the years, majority of the big international sports events were held in Kota Kinabalu, probably due to the convenience of more direct international flights and accommodation options.

“However, I believe that the infrastructure in Sandakan has now developed sufficiently to handle even the biggest events. “It is wonderful that Sandakan gets the opportunity of hosting these prized sports event for our locals to enjoy. It is good to see that rugby is leading the way,” he said during a  press conference, Saturday.

Poon said he desires to see Sabah produce great athletes and sportsmen who will bring  glory to Sabah and Malaysia.

“With Sabah Rugby Union and Eagles Rugby Club undeniably among the pioneers in implementing the latest techniques and modules in the science of sports development, I can foresee a good future for the game here. The Sabah rugby fraternity has set the pace and standard in sports development that should be emulated,” he said. 

He also expressed his confidence that the victory of the Sabah men’s team at the 2018 Agong’s Cup was an indication that greater things are on the way. So too with the Sabah women’s team which won the Sukma gold  without conceding a single point.

Poon congratulated organising chairman Vela Tan for his dedication to the game and putting Sabah in the international map for rugby arena. 

Vela said in this year’s tournament, the women’s category will be continued due to popular demand. 

“Some very strong women’s teams are coming, including defending champion the Hong Kong Dragons.

In the men’s category, our host team, the Borneo Eagles, will also be trying to regain the title which was won by the Australian Iconz Rugby Team last year,” he said. 

Vela, who is also the Deputy President of Malaysia Rugby Association and a committee member of Asia Rugby, expressed his determination to help lift the standard of rugby in Malaysia to greater heights.

To gain more support for the game and promote the tournament to a wider audience, the organisers will again be providing free live streaming of the event.

“Being a club with our own touring team, we know how difficult and costly it is to send a team to take part in tournaments, especially overseas events. Therefore, we really appreciate their effort in coming all the way to Sandakan and to our club – The Home of The Eagles,” said Vela.

“The Borneo 7s has moved up to a level where it is recognised by Asia Rugby,” added Vela, who was among those who initiated the inaugural event. 

“With the tournament getting the nod from Asia Rugby, we can expect even stronger foreign teams participating. “We are confident that rugby in our country and particularly Sabah will progress to a stage where it will earn its place as a “core sport’ in Malaysia. I would say the game has already taken firm root and is all set to further flourish.” 

Russia will be making their debut in the tournament.

During the last 17 years, the tournament has so far hosted renowned international teams such as Daveta (Fiji), Marist St. Joseph (Samoa), Aotearoa Maori Club (New Zealand), Penguins International (UK) as well as those from Singapore, Dubai, Kenya, Australia, South Africa, Belgium, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines. Reigning champions Iconz Rugby Team from Australia will be back to defend the men’s crown this year.   

Top Malaysian and regional teams that have participated include N.S. Wanderers, Cobra, Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Brunei RFC, DBKL Sports Club, RMAF Blackhawks, Panthers-Blowpipes RFC, Malaysian University, Labuan RFU and Sibu Rugby Union. 

The elite Sabah teams such as the Sabah Eagles (state team), the OSCA/Warriors, KK Sharks as well as host team ERC Borneo Eagles have all tasted action in the tournament.

“We want local sports fans to be given the chance to witness top class rugby. We want the game to be revitalized in Sabah, particularly Sandakan. The Borneo 7s will have a very positive impact, especially for school children.  

“When they see top class action it will sharpen their appetite for the game and goad them towards striving for greater excellence,” said Vela. 

The teams competing in this year’s tournament are men’s teams: Belgium Barbarians, Borneo Eagles, Chinese Taipei 7s, Chongqing Rangers- China, Hong Kong Dragons,  Iconz- Australia, Coloundra Rugby Union -Australia.  Wipers Hugo (Labuan RA), Malaysia Men 7s,  Sabah Eagles, Thailand, Zastava, Russia.

The women’s teams are Hong Kong Dragons,  Nagato Blues, Japan, Malaysia Team, Lady Volcanoes- Philippines, Pearls Japan, Singapore HPD, Southern Districts Rebelettes, (Aus) Sabah Eagles and Wipers Katrina (Labuan Rugby Association).



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