ON COURSE: Defending champions to square up against TMISS in final
DEFENDING champions Combined Old Boys Rugby Association (Cobra) stayed on course to retain their title in the Malaysian Rugby Union (MRU) Super League with a 25-17 win over ATM JLJ in the semi-finals at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang yesterday.
Cobra wasted no time in stamping their mark on the match and opened accounts as early as the third minute through Fijian import Vatimi Racebe and added to their tally 10 minutes later, again through Racebe.
A clearly outpaced JLJ, however, managed a solitary reply through winger Farid Ahmad in the 24th minute to see their side trail the champions 12-5 going into the break.
Racebe continued his sterling performance to score again in the 48th minute. However, JLJ's Mohd Ependi Mohd Uzir kept the deficit down with an effort in the 56th minute.
Despite Cobra being a man down when flanker Ammar Mohd Tahir was given his marching orders for verbal abuse in the 65th minute, Racebe scored his fourth try of the match in the 69th minute to put his side within grasp of victory.
JLJ managed to score through Mohd Rozif Zainal Abidin in the 81st minute. However, it was not enough to stop Cobra (who beat ASAS RFC in the quarterfinals last week) from booking their place in the final with a 25-17 win.
Cobra coach Boon Hoon Chee said: "I am very happy with the win as JLJ are among the most experienced teams in the country.
"They have very experienced, large forwards and our plan was to attack them on the flanks and use our pace to tire them out.
"Our boys did well for the first quarter of the match but lost focus towards the end of the first half, which is to be expected as we fielded nine under-20 players today.
"We managed to regroup in the second half and it was enough to see us control the rest of the match.
"We are looking forward to competing in the final and will not be overconfident no matter who we play."
Cobra will meet Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (TMISS) in the final. TMISS beat last year's finalists Keris Conlay in a nail-biting 22-20 victory which saw a last ditch penalty from Nazreen Fitri Nasruddin win them the match.
The final will be played at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang next Sunday.