Knights players try to stop a Rhinos player on the ball during their Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Darussalam Cup semi-final at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex yesterday. BT/Yee Chun Leong
The Knights Rugby Football Club are one game away from accomplishing a double.
The Dr Hj Kamaruddin Cup champions dethroned the Miri Rhinos 28-20 in the semi-finals of the Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Darussalam Cup yesterday at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex. They will face the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Sharks, who edged the Belait Pythons 14-7 on Saturday night, in the final on May 11.
The Rhinos broke the deadlock in the fifth minute through Azhfar T but the Miri side missed the ensuing conversion kick. The Knights broke back 10 minutes later with a try courtesy of Rosmie Janadie and Hj Rozaimienizam Hj Jainal gave them their first lead with his conversion kick.
Khairul Syazwan helped Rhinos regain the lead in the 25th minute but they once again couldn't convert their kick. The Knights got back in front with a try by Ak Md Amir Rithauddin Pg Murshaidi and another successful conversion by Hj Rozaimienizam.
There was another change of lead with winger Nicholas Gala getting on the scoresheet for the Rhinos in the 35th minute at 15-14 heading into halftime. The Knights came out storming after the break with Ak Md Amir Rithauddin scoring his second try just three minutes in.
Dinie Abu Bakar made no mistake with his conversion kick to put his side up 21-15. They created a cushion with Md Syazwan Masri notching another try seven minutes later and with Dinie on target yet again to make it 28-15.
The Rhinos kept it close and Khairul managed his second try of the match 10 minutes from time but it was not enough that saw them dumped out of the competition. Knights forward Syaihan Hj Abu Bakar felt that adjustments made at half time was key to the victory.
"The game was tough as the Rhinos are no pushovers. We were a bit messy in the first half and our game pattern was lost," said Syaihan in an interview with The Brunei Times after the triumph. "We also lacked communication on the field so we had a meeting and tried to work on our mistakes.
"We made some changes and it worked for us resulting in playing a lot better," he added. "We will rest up for the next two weeks. UBD are a good team and are last season's winners. "We will do our best for the challenge and Insyallah things will go our way," continued Syaihan.
On the other hand, Rhinos manager Bunyamin Matnor felt that the better team won the encounter. "The better prepared team won the game. "We scored the same number of tries but just didn't capitalise on our conversions," said Bunyamin.
"The Knights had the edge and played well. Man-to-man we have a lot of technical players but we haven't played many games and the end result showed," he added. "From my observation, teams in Brunei have improved. "Coach Ben (Bourne) has done a good job with the local players.
"We hope to come back better prepared for the next campaign," he concluded.