BRFU president Dr Hj Kamaruddin (C) with the Pythons, Knights, UBD Sharks and Bandar Blacks representatives during yesterday's BRFU presentation. BT/Syarif Rasani
Five teams will be booting up for this season's Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Premiership set to kick off on March 8.
League champions, Miri Rhinos, will be back to defend their Dr Hj Kamaruddin Cup title against the Knights Rugby Football Club, Bandar Blacks, Belait Pythons and the Darussalam Cup winners Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Sharks.
Rhinos lifted the cup in April after topping the table with 26 points, ahead of the UBD Sharks who secured 22 points and the Knights on 21 points.
The league was shortly followed by the Darussalam Cup in May, which saw the UBD Sharks lift the trophy after taking out the Royal Brunei Police Force Sports Council (MS PDB) 23-5 in the final.
The Rhinos were denied the double win after MS PDB knocked them out with a 15-12 match in the semi-final.
The Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council were planning to make a return in this year's edition but pulled out at the last minute yesterday. This season's league title is "Smoke Free" to help promote healthy living.
The format of the league will be round-robin and will see two games being played every week. All players are also required to have insurance to play starting this season as BRFU were granted associate member status to the International Rugby Board on Nov 20.
Sharks captain Hj Mohd Azmiee Hj Sunny Lai believes that there are a few tough teams to look out for.
"We will try our best to defend our title and I think with the comeback of the Pythons in the league as well will be a challenge for us," Hj Mohd Azmiee told The Brunei Times.
The Pythons who are three time league winners and four time Darussalam Cup champions pulled out of the 2013 season due to the lack of players.
"The Miri Rhinos will be another challenge for us but we just need to prepare ourselves and play our best.
"So far we've been having our training twice a week since January.
"We're looking at our 10 new players as well who just started playing, who we are grooming to play for the senior league.
"Some of them are quite new to the game and some of the other ones have been playing since sixth form," added Hj Mohd Azmiee.
The BRFU have also made a bid to host the June 18-22 Asian 5 Nations and will find out if they have secured the chance to host it when the results come out on Friday.