England record try scorer Rory Underwood (R) having a chat with national rugby coach Ben Bourne (L) before Saturdays clash between the national team and the British Garrison's team, Flying Kukris. BT/ Syarif Rasani
England record try scorer Rory Underwood was impressed with the national team's performance during last Saturday's inaugural Kukri Cup test match.
The British Garrison's team, Flying Kukris, took down the national team 29-7 in the one-off match at the British Army Field in Kuala Belait, but Underwood - who scored 49 tries in 85 matches and one try for the British and Irish Lions in six matches - said there was nothing for the team to be ashamed about.
"In the first half Brunei were on the try line and they could have gone into the half time (break) fairly level pegged, so I was very impressed," he told The Brunei Times.
"The final score looks a little bit like a runaway, but for three quarters of the game it was really competitive, and in the last 20 minutes, the Brunei team looked like they were starting to tire.
"It was always going to be an interesting battle between European size against Asian physique (but) it was very competitive and there was no shame.
"It's still early days with Brunei rugby and it's a real challenge with the facilities and number of players playing, but it was a good performance," said the three-time World Cup player.
The winger also helped train local club Belait Pythons last Thursday and was also impressed with what he saw - though he admitted rugby in Brunei has a long way to go.
"I was very impressed, a lot of great skills," said the 50 year old.
"It's always difficult (to improve) playing in the same level within the local circuit, but its good rugby.
"(In general) playing against somebody that has played rugby for much longer (starting) from when they were at school is always going to be hard.
"(But) like I said, early days. Very promising, very promising.
"Hopefully the word spreads and more and more people want to take up rugby, I love playing rugby, I've got a lot of it.
"The person I am today has a lot to do with me playing rugby, so I can only try and sell the game of rugby to everybody.
"I'd like to see more Bruneians playing rugby, it would be fantastic," added Underwood.
Pythons players certainly felt they learnt a lot from Underwood - who aside from holding the record for most tries, has also accumulated the most caps for England's backs.
"It was good because during the training he was mostly with the backs," said Danial Wong
"He showed us how to be disciplined on the field," he added.
Muhammad Ziyad Hj Ramlee, meanwhile, felt that it was an honour to get the chance to train with Underwood.
"It was an honour to have the session with him because he's a legend," said Ziyad.
"It was good because we actually learnt more about basics in things like ball handling and tactical play," added Ziyad.
Underwood's professional club career saw him play for the Leicester Tigers (1983-1997), Bedford Blues (1997-1998) and the Royal Air Force before retiring at age 36 in 1999.
His career bloomed after a 12-9 win against Ireland during the 1984 Five Nations Championship.