It's do or die for the national rugby team as they brace for their clash against Cambodia in the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Asian 5 Nations Division IV tonight.
Their match will be contested at 8pm at the Belapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. National captain Muhammad Redha Hj Adinin doesn't expect anything less than a win as they have put in their fair share of blood and sweat leading up to the tournament.
"It's do or die for all of us in the team," Redha told The Brunei Times. "We have faced a lot of ups and downs, challenges and obstacles during our preparation for the tournament," said Redha.
The Brunei Leopards headed into the competition with two win's to their name after defeating the Miri Rhinos 44-21 and Labuan 28-13 in their warm up matches. "A victory on our home ground would be the ultimate reward for the hard work and sacrifice from the players, our coach Ben Bourne, assistant coach Reynold Anak Belaja and our manager Pg Ali," said Redha.
The Leopards are using video analysis of their 38-13 loss to Mongolia in their opening match on Tuesday to aid them in their preparations. "We watched our game against Mongolia the other night and analysed the mistakes we did, how they managed to break through our defence line and so on," said Redha.
Redha added that the Cambodian team taking part in this year's event weren't as big as last year's who outplayed Brunei 38-0 and 28-0 during the Division V tournament in Cambodia. Despite the difference in size, Redha believes they will be much faster and skillful in their backline but he remains confident.
"The Brunei Leopards backs led by vice-captain Ahmad Faez Anuar, and players such as Dinie Hj Abu Bakar - who played very well during our first match making several try saving tackles - will match up to the Cambodian backs," said Redha. Cambodia coach Jerome Alfonsi admitted that the injuries sustained during their 44-5 loss to Mongolia will affect their game.
Two players finished the game with arm slings after picking up shoulder injuries while another had an eye injury. "I'm sure there will be an effect because we have two shoulders out and one eye problem from the ruck but that's life in rugby... we will do our best against Brunei," said Alfonsi.