Flying Kukris captain Clarke Gardener (L) receiving the Kukri Cup from England's record try scorer Rory Underwood after a 29-7 win over the national team at the British Army Field in Kuala Belait yesterday. Picture: BT/Syarif Rasani
The British Garrison's Flying Kukris gunned down the national team 29-7 during the inaugural Kukri Cup test match yesterday.
England's record try scorer and three-time World Cup player Rory Underwood was among the crowd that gathered to watch the one-off match at the British Army Field in Kuala Belait.
Underwood's record came through scoring 49 tries in 85 matches for England and one try for the British and Irish Lions in his six caps.
The Flying Kukris were quick to show they wanted to take the early lead by sending in waves of pressure as soon as the whistle sounded.
They scored the first try through an offload 5m out to Rosey Antony, who only had to make his way through the last man to tap the ball down between the posts early in the first quarter to make it 5-0.
The Flying Kukris' captain Clarke Gardener scored the second try of the game after a few phases during the first two minutes of the second stanza.
Sam Law got his hands on the ball from the ruck and swung it straight to Gardener, who successfully crashed his way through three national players to make it 10-0.
The national team started to show more fight following the try but failed to make it past the Flying Kukris try line.
But their persistence finally paid off half-way through the third quarter when Dinnie Hj Abu Bakar's quick reactions saw him intercept a Flying Kukris pass that left him with some free space in front of him, and he would cut the deficit to 10-5.
Lim Shen Quan then converted to make it 10-7.
The Flying Kukris quickly replied through Steve Valentine who received the ball from the ruck before barging through Brunei's wall to distance their gap to 17-7 after the conversion.
Their fourth try of the game came through a quick sprint down a free left flank by Henry Ward after receiving the ball from Simon Macey, who opened the initial gap, which brought the score up to 24-7 after the conversion half-way through the fourth quarter.
Skipper Gardener picked up his second try of the game after quickly taking the ball from the ruck before crashing through the national team's wall to end the game at 29-7.
"The match was great for the whole 80 minutes," Gardener told The Brunei Times.
"Brunei put out a very good side and the British Garrison also managed to scratch together a last-minute side, but both sides put out a sterling effort.
"It was a good result in the end for ourselves.
"I would like to say a huge thank you to Brunei for coming down and taking part in this tournament, and it's a tournament we'd hope to continue in the future every year," said the captain.
The Flying Kukris were scheduled to take part in the Feb 22-23 Bangkok International Rugby 10s in Thailand, but had to cancel the trip due to a lack of players.
"Unfortunately we were not able to muster enough people for the Bangkok 10's, so we've had to put a halt on that," Gardener explained.
"We're now looking at the March 22-23 Manila 10s in Philippines," he added.
National rugby coach Ben Bourne felt that his team did well.
"They did better than what I expected to be honest, because this is the first time I've had a full team turn up," said Bourne.
"I thought they played well, there are just a few things individually they need to work on and just coming together once every one or two weeks will definitely strengthen them.
"I hope that they stay together and continue with the development. "Ideally, this is the team that will sort of set the bar this year.
"Thanks to the players for putting all the hard work and commitment (because) throughout the years I've noticed a lot of people come and go.
"Also a huge thanks to the ministries for their support in releasing these players today, and to the Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) for always being there," said Bourne.
Bourne will be out of Brunei for the next few months on leave, though he has already found replacements to cover the national team.
"The only people that I will probably be leaving behind that will be effected are the juniors, who are going to the Feb 28-March 2 Malay College Kuala Kangsar Rugby Premier 7s in Malaysia and the April 19-20 COBRA (Combined Old Boys Rugby Association) Rugby 10s."