Knights captain Dinie Hj Abu Bakar (C) trying to take down Miri Rhinos' Clinton Anak Patrick during yesterday's BRFU Premiership game. The Knights beat the titleholders 46-29. BT/Syarif Rasani
The Knights Rugby Football Club kicked off their Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Premiership campaign with a 46-29 result over defending league champions Miri Rhinos yesterday.
The day's other game saw the Belait Pythons win their second game by beating Darussalam Cup champions Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Sharks 25-15.
Knights' Md Syafiee Matali wasted no time putting his team ahead after scoring from a quick tap-and-go 10 meters out by crashing through a wall of Rhinos in the fifth minute at the Panaga Club in Seria.
The Rhinos managed to make it an equal battle between the two for the next few minutes before Knights' Abdul Azim Hj Abu Bakar added another try to lead 10-0 in the 13th minute.
Azim was given open space to run through after receiving the quick offload from Sabinaya Chandra Rai, who made the initial crash into the Rhinos.
Knights captain Dinie Hj Abu Bakar got his name on the scoresheet six minutes later after spotting a tiny gap in the Rhinos wall after receiving a quick pass from the ruck, and Lim Shen Quan stepped up to take the conversion to further their lead to 17-0.
The Rhinos finally hit back through Klimsman Anak Richard, who bolted down the right flank from 20 meters out to cut the gap to 17-5 in the 21st minute.
Robert Tiong Chun Fu scored the Rhinos' second try after Imang Mering crashed into the Knights before offloading the ball in the 26th minute, with Rhinos Steve Giri converting the try to bring the score to 17-12.
The Rhinos equalised after three quick passes in the last 10 meters led to the ball being worked into the hands of Mering, who squeezed through two Knights players to score a 39th minute try.
Knights Md Alif Hj Jainal scored the final try of the half after the Rhinos fell to a major mistake.
The Knights pushed the Rhinos into their try zone which led to a miskick that landed in the hands of Md Alif, who only had to tap the ball down, and Quan would convert to move the Knights back in front at 24-17.
The Knights boosted their lead once more after Azim picked up the loose ball from their scrum before offloading it to Md Syazwan Masri, who made a quick pass to Rai to make it 29-17 in the 53rd minute.
Mering weaved his way through the Knights from his own half after receiving the ball from a quick tap-and-go to close the gap to 29-22 in the 27th minute, but the Knights replied straight away through Quan - who was met by a Rhino tackle that he bounced off before placing the ball home for a 34-22 lead.
Quan dodged the Rhinos backs once more by using his speed to outpace them to the try line after receiving the ball from a scrum 20 meters out to boost the score to 39-22 in the 64th minute.
The Rhinos last try came after they sent in waves after waves of attack before Faqrul Hafiz Abu Bakar found a hole to take advantage of in the 74th minute.
Giri converted the try to put the score 39-29.
Syafiee almost got away with scoring the first and last try of the game but the Rhinos took him down right before the line, but a quick pop pass to Syazwan saw him grab the final try in the 78th minute - with Md Alif going on to convert.
Azim was happy with both the results and the performance.
"I'm happy because our junior players just started competing for the senior league and they played their part," Azim said after the hard-fought vistory.