MALAYSIA'S Under-20 side proved they are no-flash-in-the-pan by successfully defending their Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Asian Under-20 Sevens title in Johor Baru yesterday.
The hosts edged Hong Kong 26-22 in a repeat of last year's final, thanks to tries from Zulkifli Azmi, Ameer Nasrun, Anwarul Hafiz and Faris Salim with Nazreen Fitri Nasruddin converting three kicks. All the tries were scored in the first half.
National Under-20 coach Saizul Hafifi Mohd Noor said he was elated with his charges' successful title defence and consistent performances throughout the tournament.
"I am really proud of the boys. To defend a title is not easy and they showed great willpower and discipline to win it again," said Saizul Hafifi.
"Our game plan against Hong Kong was to run hard and use our pace as much as possible as they have very large players.
"The boys showed great consistency throughout (the tournament) and even today (yesterday) they held firm as Hong Kong came at us hard towards the end of the match."
Malaysia had earlier shown great character in their semi-final against Taiwan when they came back from being 14-0 down at half-time to emerge 17-14 winners and book their place in the final.
The team had also created history during the group stages earlier yesterday when they notched Malaysia's first ever win, either at junior or senior level in both sevens and 15s, A over Japan when they edged the much-favoured traditional Asian powerhouse 17-14 in their final group match.
The national team earlier notched wins over China (19-12), Philippines (31-5) and Singapore (33-17) in the group stage.
Malaysia had beaten Hong Kong 34-14 -in last year's final after drubbing Kazakhstan 40-0 in the semi-finals.