A Cambodian player (2ndR)
evading a tackle during
their second game against
Brunei at the Asian 5
Nations (A5N) Division 5
tournament in Phnom Penh.
Picture: Courtesy of Joe
A defeated national team left Phnom Penh last week after failing to get on the scoreboard in both matches against hosts Cambodia at the Asian 5 Nations (A5N) Division 5 tournament the lowest rung in Asian rugby.
Brunei beat Cambodia 19-15 last year after coming back from 15-0 down in the second half, but it wasn't the same Cambodians who showed up during the July 5-7 tournament.
Brunei fell to the hosts 38-0 in their first game and managed to beef up their defence in the second match, though they still lost 28-0.
National vice-captain Muhd Ali Nurul Saffuan Muhd Ali believes that after Brunei stole last year's game 19-15, Cambodia put themselves through a total reform with a new coach and players.
The national squad only had a month's worth of preparation, a far cry from the half a year the Cambodians spent gearing up for the meet at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Stadium.
"They've undergone six months' worth of preparation... Committed to beat Brunei," said Saffuan.
"Therefore, I believe they adapted to the strategies we used against them last year.
"With the first meeting, we were surprised with how they played because they were stronger than in 2012.
"The first loss helped us prepare for the second match. We made a few changes to our game-plan and played harder than the first game.
"Cambodia kept most of the possession through well-coordinated plays in offence and defence, leaving us with much less possession to push forward and play our game," admitted the vice-captain.
Saffuan also felt that there were factors out of their control during the tour, such as the weather and the penalties that were called upon the national team during play.
"In the future, we hope to train harder as one to strengthen the coordination within the team as well as learn new strategies that we can apply to win our next game against Cambodia," he said.
"We have a lot of appreciation for our sponsors Sankaran Halim, the Department of Youth and Sports, Total E&P Borneo BV, the Brunei Rugby Football Union and others that have helped us for the tour.
"We hope that everyone continues to support us in this endeavor to better develop the team," added the vice-captain.
The national squad was selected from local clubs that took part in this year's Brunei Rugby Football Union Premiership.
The Royal Brunei Police Force Sports Council filled up the main bulk of the team with nine players alongside the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Sharks' eight.
National rugby coach Ben Bourne had six of his Knights Rugby Football Club men in the team, with the last player coming from the Bandar Blacks.
Last year's A5N tournament was a battle between Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, with Laos advancing to Division 4 after defeating Brunei 70-7 and Cambodia 58-7.