Belait Pythons' Eliki Tuitubou (R) fends off a Miri Rhinos' player to score the second try of the game yesterday. The Pythons won the match 26-5. Picture: BT/ Syarif Rasani
It's like they never left.
The Belait Pythons marked their return to the Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Premiership with a bang, crushing defending league champions Miri Rhinos 26-5 in the opener yesterday.
The three time league champions and four time Darussalam Cup winners pulled out of the competition last year but they were quick to shake off any rust, exerting their dominance right from kick off.
Abd Qawi Hj Ramlee scored the first try of the game in the third minute. Eliki Tuitubou made the first crucial crash into the Rhinos defence at the five meter line before Qawi powered through them to lay the ball down between the posts.
Petrus Tuan scored the conversion that put the Pythons in front 7-0 at the British Army Field in Kuala Belait.
The Rhinos tried to press back but their pressure failed to trouble the far superior Pythons.
Pythons' Tuitubou scored the second try after picking up a loose ball from the scrum followed by a quick one-two play with Muhammad Ziyad Hj Ramlee before tapping the ball down.
Tuan converted the try to bring the score to 14-0.
Pythons' Muhammad Zuhdi Khairi Hj Ramlee sealed their third try after receiving the ball from a quick tap and go that left all the Rhinos offside, giving him a free run down the line.
Tuan went three for three with his conversions and boosted their lead to 21-0.
Qawi scored the last try after Pythons player-coach John Beart crashed into the Rhinos defence before offloading to Kennedy Enggu 20 meters out, who then repeated the wave before laying off the ball to Qawi to make it 26-0 in the 46th minute.
Richard Chu Kam San scored the Rhinos only points by a quick tap and go five meters out, catching the Pythons off guard.
Beart was pleased with the performance his team put up against the defending champions.
"We wanted to win, and we won so that was the main goal achieved," Beart told The Brunei Times in an interview.
"I think we also played some good rugby and we thought the game well by slowing and speeding up the pace when we needed to.
"There's still a lot to work on because it wasn't perfect but obviously, Rhinos, one of the teams to beat, we've beat them so we have to put that one to bed.
"They were a very good side and they stuck at it even till the last minute... they still tried to come back and score.
"There are no easy team in this league and as long as we keep our focus in every game - and not think too far ahead - then we should be alright," he said,
Miri Rhinos manager Bunyamin Matnor felt that the results were inevitable.
"Well it's the first game of the season for us and the players are basically still in the midst of getting their fitness up, so I think we expected this result," said Matnor.
"(It's tough with) the depleted numbers as well... we only had one reserve because a lot of our players are working today so they couldn't make it over.
"It was a fair result, the Pythons were better prepared than us from what we can see but we hope to do a bit better next week.
"Generally the game was good, no issues with the official and both sides played to their abilities," added Matnor.
The action continues today with Darussalam Cup champions, Universiti Brunei Darussalam Sharks taking on the Bandar Blacks at the UBD field at 4pm.