KUALA LUMPUR: With four regulars unavailable, national coach Lee Nyuk Fah faces a tough test in turning his team into a formidable unit for Saturday’s Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) match against South Korea at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
Nyuk Fah has five naturalised players in his 23-man squad.
Those injured are Etonia Vaqa Saukuru (Keris Conlay) and Samuela Tamanisau (Front Row Club) along with Yamaha Jubilo’s K. Dinesvaran (broken arm) while Jone Marawa Nasalo has moved to Romania's CSM Baia Mare this season.
Nyuk Fah, who has won every tournament the national team have played since taking charge in 2014, hopes his players will find an extra gear playing at home.
"Etonia injured his finger, Samuela has a knee issue while Jone has not been released by his club," said Nyuk Fah on Monday.
"It is blow as their absence will affect our depth. Last season, we had players just as strong as our starting lineup on the bench.
"Jone has been our best (foreign) player over the past few seasons which is why he has been signed by a foreign club.
"Regardless, the boys are in good spirit and I hope they will step up as we need to be at our best.
“Korea and Hong Kong are both very strong teams with professional players. Playing at home in Bukit Jalil should give us the extra motivation."
He also disclosed that Cobra's Amin Jamaluddin and Syarif Nurhidayat Muzhaimey (Asas RFC) will fill in Dinesvaran's position as lock or wing forward. He also confirmed that the captain’s armband will be handed to Cobra’s Syahir Asraf Rosli.
Malaysia will play against Hong Kong in their second game on May 5, also in Bukit Jalil.
The squad: Amirul Sani, Amirul Mukminin Azman, Mohamad Nurazaman Ramli, Timoci Vunimoku, Mohammad Syarif Saiful Aazwan Sudin, Muhamad Amirul Aqil Kamsol, Mohd Syahir Asraf Rosli, Mohd Azmir Zanul Abdin, Aliff Sazrie Azmi, Mohamad Aiman Jamaludin, Aporosa Duwailea Nasalo, Vatimo Rabebe, Sae Faalupega, Mohamad Alif Al Hafiz Abdul Karim, Mohammad Amin Jamaluddin, Syarif Nurhidayat Muzhaimey, Mohd Farid Sujari, Nathanael Tan Aik Ming, Lawrence Petrus, Sakiusa Terence, Mohammad Rosmanizam Roslan, Marc Le, Muhd Nur Ikqwan Nordin.