The national rugby team posing for a team photo before their warm up match against Labuan on June 7 at the LDA Field in Labuan. Hosts Brunei face Mongolia in their Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Asian 5 Nations Division IV opener today before meeting Cambodia on Saturday. Courtesy of Iqbal Selamat
National rugby captain Muhammad Redha Hj Adinin hopes they can come out on top at today's Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Asian 5 Nations Division IV tournamnent.
The national team will be facing a tough test against Mongolia - who have a significant advantage in size - before meeting Cambodia on Saturday. The competition's other game will see Cambodia face Mongolia on Thursday.
"Our expectations are to definitely win the tournament," Redha told The Brunei Times yesterday. "We're ready to put everything on the line to defend our home ground until the last whistle blows. "We have the advantage of familiarising ourselves with the pitch (at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas), weather and climate changes."
The national team will be heading into battle boosted by two successful warm up matches where they defeated the Miri Rhinos 44-21 and Labuan 28-13. Redha noted that winning their tune up games will definitely help their confidence.
"However, the main intentions of those two matches were to see how well we played as a team as a solid pack executing all the game plan set for us and if the game plan was best suited to each and every individual's capabilities," said Redha.
"Perfectly executing our game plan and indentifying the areas that we needed to work on were considered a victory to us, while winning the two clashes was a bonus," he added. Vice-captain Ahmad Faez Anuar admitted that the national squad do not know much about today's opponents as they have never played against other before.
"We know that the Mongolia Rugby Football Union (MRFU) have been around for a bit and we do know for sure that they would want to win this tournament to make a statement, as much as the Leopards (Brunei national team) do," said Faez.
"It's going to be a tough game and I'm sure both teams will be hungry for points. "Ideally, we would have loved to get more time and perhaps more test matches, but the camp we had has propelled and sculptured us a lot - but the real answer will be portrayed on the field this week.
"The team has bonded tremendously. Skipper Redha and I are happy with how the team is getting along. "The brotherhood spirit is strong in this team as every player knows each other's traits in and out of the pitch, so we know we've got each other's back come game time," added Faez.
Brunei will have four days rest before they take on Cambodia on Saturday. Cambodia beat Brunei 38-0 and 28-0 during the Division V tournament in Cambodia last year.