Rugby facilities and fields in dire need of overhaul


KUCHING: Rugby fields located around the city are in a bad shape and need to be upgraded.Not only the fields but the facilities are also in bad condition and need to be refurbished to lift up the standard of the sport in the state.

Kuching Rugby Football Club (KRFC) president Dick Bentham said yesterday the facilities were in desperate need of upgrading to accommodate more rugby activities.

“The condition is not good. You can see stones, tree roots coming out from the soil. Generally the ‘padang’ (fields) around Kuching are facing the same problems.”

The fields in rugby-playing schools such as SMK Sheikh Haji Othman Abdul Wahab, SMK Wira Penrissen and Kolej Abdillah were also in  bad shape, he said.

“We need to upgrade the facilities and fields to increase the level of interest in rugby here,” Bentham said after the handing-over of President’s Cup jerseys from Association of Bumiputera Car Dealers (Perkema) to KRFC Blackcatz yesterday.

He said despite the facility and field woes, the interest in rugby had increased every year.

“In Kuching alone, there are up to 24 schools actively playing rugby and this is not including those outside of Kuching. Before there were only six schools … we just need to work hard on this because the sport is growing and attracting more youths,” Bentham said.

He pointed out that there were about 1,500-2,000 active players statewide and the number had increased over the last six years.

“The number had multiplied at least five times and this is good news to us.”

Bentham stressed again the need to increase the funding for the game and upgrade the facilities because of its growing popularity.

“By the year 2016, rugby (seven-a-side) will be included in the Olympics and we hope that we will be able to fulfil the supply of players to the country for this purpose,” he said.

Bentham said KRFC had been one of the major suppliers of rugby players for the state together with Sibu and Miri.

This weekend’s President’s Cup in Sibu will see four teams in the fray – KRFC Blackcatz, Sibu, Miri and Politeknik.

On the tournament, Bentham said KRFC would lose the services of eight players due to their respective university exams.

“These bunch of players will somehow affect the team’s preparation for Sibu as they have enormous potential of excelling in rugby … and they are still young.”

Last year’s champions Sibu and Miri are expected to be the major hurdles in KRFC Blackcatz’s bid for honours.

“Sibu have been the powerhouses of rugby in the state for quite a number of years and they are the favourites to defend their title too,” he said.

The President’s Cup, added Bentham, would be used by KRFC to scout for new blood to represent the state in the Agong’s Cup in October.

The sport’s national governing body Malaysian Rugby Union has yet to announce the exact date for the tournament.