Thursday, September 24

Friendlies in run up to Kuching Division U-18 tournament

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THE Kuching division U-18 inter-school tournament will kick off next week with the usual cast in the fray.Defending champion SMA Sheikh Hj Othman Abdul Wahab (Shoaw) might face stiffer competition this year as  coaches from other schools taking part have undergone basic coaching course in the last two years.

Actually there were two such courses conducted, one in 2008 organised by Sarawak Rugby Union (SRU) and conducted by facilitators from the Malaysian Rugby Union (MRU) and the other earlier this year. The latter course was jointly organised by the SRU, KRFC and Cobra, sponsored by CIMB and conducted by facilitators from Penguin RFC of England.

The two basic level 1 courses were help to equip teachers/coaches with the basic knowledge in teaching the players how to play the game in the proper way and enjoy the game.

The main threat to Shoaw’s title is likely to be from  Kolej DPAH Abdillah as they had come close over the last two years so will it be their year this time?  They have just been to a tournament across the waters, the RMC 10’s 2 weeks ago, as part of their preparations for next week’s tournament.

Of the rest, it will all be known when the tournament gets under way next week as they have not been seen or heard of since the last tournament last year.

As far as I know none of these schools have organised and played any friendlies amongst themselves since the last course which was conducted in January this year. Have these teachers/coaches done their bit after having gone through the courses and received their certificates? Are they doing it right and properly? Have they improved the standards of their players and teams both technically and tactically?

No one knows and only when the tournament comes around next week will the answer be known.

They have had since January till next week, a period of three months, to prepare and put out good teams and players but I doubt very much that this has been done.

With only one more week to go before the tournament these teachers/coaches won’t have the time to identify and rectify any weak points in their players’ and teams’ makeup and that is assuming that they know what their charges’ weak points are.

They all knew that the inter-schools’ and inter-division tournaments this year had been postponed to this month and early May respectively due to the game being dropped from the national Schools Sports Council’s national championships so they have had the luxury of time to prepare their charges but they don’t seem to have use the time constructively.

In the past these teachers/coaches did not have the basics knowledge in preparing their charges but this year they have had the chance to undergo a level 1 coaching course and also time to prepare their sides but what have they done?

I ran into, and checked with Zamzy Abdul Rahman (Zam) from Kolej last week and was informed that SMK Tun Abang Hj Openg (Taho) had yet to confirm their participation for the tournament and we are only just one week away.

According to Zam there should be about 11 schools taking part in the tournament and I can safely guess that apart from Shoaw and Kolej Abdillah, the others would be SM Teknik Sejingkat, SM Sains Kuching, SM Agama Matang, SM Vocational Matang, SM Vocational Kuching, SMK St Thomas, SMK St Joseph, Maktab Rendah Sains Kuching (MRSM) and SM Sains Batu Kawa.

For the two vocational schools, Matang and Kuching and Teknik Sejingkat this forthcoming tournament should serve as useful tune-up in their preparations for their inter-teknik rugby 10’s which is part of their sports carnival at the end of this month.

I should have more details on the make up for the tournament next week when I catch up with the organising chairman, the affable Zulkaranainhisham (Zul) this weekend.

Hopefully this year there won’t be a repeat of what has been happening over the last few years, that of last minute crying off by any of the sides for various reasons. I guess Zul will be keeping his fingers crossed that none of the schools will pull a similar stunt this year and have him crawling up the wall in frustration.

In the past one of the main reasons for this last minute withdrawal is the time factor, not enough time to get the players together and prepare as the tournament usually takes place in January, a few weeks after school reopens which is reasonable.

But this year there’s been a gap of three months to prepare the players so I don’t know what reason(s) will be used should there be another withdrawal on the eve of the tournament by any of the schools.

In years past when these schools cited the time factor as one of the reasons for last minute withdrawal, it was actually not a good reason at all as the teachers/coaches all knew that the tournament would always be in January and they should be anticipating it but to come up with time as a reason is not cutting it at all.

Another reason why I say using the time factor as a reason is not cutting it is these teachers/coaches should know in advance whether they have the playing resources to put out a side or not and make the decision as to whether they are in or out, simple as that.

On a similar note there will be two friendlies this morning at SMK Wira Penrissen   between Shoaw U-15’s against Wira Penrissen U-15’s playing 10’s and  Shoaw U-18 versus Samarahan U-18.

The first game is scheduled to kick off at 8.45am.

Last weekend’s 2010 Guinness league match was between the 4th Royal Armoured Regiment and UiTM and the game was won by the latter 12-10. Match official was Azirudin from Kuching Politeknik.