14 May 2017 – Malaysia overcame early jitters to beat the visitors, UAE in the 2nd match of the opening day of the championship. The host started the game with very much in control, exerting the pressure from the word go. Malaysia however lost last year hero, Mohd Azmir Zanul Abidin as early as in the seventh minutes as he was stretchered off after the collision with the opponent. That did not let Malaysia down as Jone Mawara Nasalo the outside center, broke free and himself acres of space to score the first try for the match. Mohd Fairuz dully converted the conversion to give the host a 7 points lead in the 16th minutes.
The visitors took awhile to settle down. Using their physical strength, they bulldozed the Malaysian defensive line to tied up the game at 7-7. Ryno Fourie who just came for Danny Bell minutes before punished Malaysia lack of concentration. Andrew Stevenson converted the conversion for additional 10 points.
Malaysia gathered back and managed to control the game. Jone Mawara Nasalo grabbed his second try in the match with Mohd Fairuz Abdul Rahman completed his second conversions to give Malaysia 14 – 7 lead on the 25th minutes mark. Fairuz added 3 more points with 2 minutes to go in the first half when he took the opportunity and completed the penalty.
United Arab Emirates made sure they were still in the match as they also completed a penalty with seconds to go through Andrew Stevenson. Malaysia lead United Arab Emirates 17 – 10 in the first half.
Sensing blood, UAE upped the tempo after the interval. However, their efforts shown little result as the home side managed to contain their assaults. Malaysia kept their first half momentum with Jone Mawara Nasalo grabbed his third personal try, six minutes after the restart. Mohd Fairuz Abdul Rahman kept his 100% conversion rate as he completed it to add 2 more points.
Yellow card for Malaysia captain, Mohd Syahir Asraf created opportunity for UAE to come back into the game. They used the chances as they only needed a minutes to score their second try of the match through Lock, Deniel Perry. UAE closed the gap to 24 – 15. Malaysia kept their discipline well to stop any UAE attack.
Malaysia retake the control when Syahir returned 10 minutes later. His presence boosted the team as Winger, Wong Wye Wye stormed pass the Arab defensive back line to grab Malaysia 4th try.
United Arab Emirates did not let their head down as they continue working on Malaysia yard. That paid off with Kristopher Greene scored the try at the far end of the field. Andrew Stevenson amazed the crowd as he scored the conversion from a very difficult angel. Malaysia crowds was restless with Arab continue to attack.
Sakiusa Terence Gavidi made sure Malaysia won the match as he scored Malaysia fifth try with 5 minutes until the final whistle. Samuela Tamanisau showed that Malaysia can also counted on him to complete the conversion as he added 2 more points.
Malaysia made sure the score remained as they pinned United Arab Emirates in their own half in the last minutes of the match. Malaysia beat United Arab Emirates 36 – 22. Malaysia sit top of the standing with 5 points while Sri Lanka is in the second place with 4. Sri Lanka overcame the Philippines in the earlier match.
The victory however was marred by a bout of injuries. Mohd Azmir the left wing suffered a minor concussion and set to miss the entire tournament. Another notable absentee is Mohd Fairuz, the influential scrum half, who is expected to be out for the next match against Philippines.
Photos by Zainuddin Mamat/ragbionline