National player Lim Shen Quan (R) will be one of the players to look out for at next month's ARFU Asian 5 Nations Division IV tournament which Brunei will host from June 17-21. BT/Syarif Rasani
National rugby coach Ben Bourne (C) watching his players pass the ball during training. BT/Syarif Rasani
National rugby coach Ben Bourne is basing his training for the June 17-21 Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Asian 5 Nations Division IV around their match against Cambodia.
Brunei will be kicking off their campaign against Mongolia on June 17 before taking on rivals Cambodia on June 21 at 8pm. Mongolia will face Cambodia on June 19 at the at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex at 4pm.
The Sultanate have never met Mongolia on the field, which leaves Bourne to base his training on improving their previous results where in their previous edition last year they fell 38-0 and 28-0 to Cambodia in their Division V tournament.
"My preparations are based on last year's experience as well as the years before because Cambodia are getting stronger in their attacks," Bourne told The Brunei Times yesterday. "So I will sort of use that as a platform to build on, (and) I know they can attack very well and we couldn't cover.
"It's their second or third phase of attack that we couldn't cover and that's what I'm looking at building on. That sort of thinking ahead on defense. "So we not only concentrating on the guy carrying the ball, but also the support players that are coming after with them," said Bourne after training at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex.
Bourne revealed he will have a team of approximately 26 players for the tournament.
The team is a mix of players from the local squads that took part in the recent Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) Premiership, and to date, the team is made up of nine men from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Sharks, eight from the Knights Rugby Football Club, five from the Bandar Blacks and three from the Belait Pythons.
They will go through intensive weekend trainings from Friday to Sunday, with three sessions each day except for two on Sunday. The national team have lined up a match against the Miri Rhinos this week, followed by an unconfirmed trip to Labuan the following week to play a match there.
Bourne also hopes to add in a few more matches against local teams leading up to tournament. When asked if fitness was a priority with the BRFU Premiership just ending, Bourne feels that it is still important.
"We always have to ensure that the team is still fit but there's always room for improvement," said Bourne. "There are a few of the players who are actually fit already - but you can still get them even fitter.
"With rugby, anyone can run, but it's combining everything into one really," noted Bourne. Bourne observed that his players need to work on their defense after watching them play a trial game on Saturday.
"That's where I will be looking at working on mainly. Defense, covering," said Bourne. Bourne also pointed out that they showed how good they are as players, not only with their skills sets, but as well as their communications skills.
Bourne agreed when asked if his players were better this year. "For sure. They improve all the time really, and I guess even more so now," shared Bourne. "The league was pretty strong this year. A lot more skills, the players are actually growing and a lot of youngsters are coming up too.
"So far we have been getting good support from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports by getting these guys released (from work) and by providing the ground where we are at now," added Bourne.