The 10th edition of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) Premier 7s Rugby Tournament promises to be an explosive tournament for both the fans as well as participating teams with the top local rugby playing schools alongside three foreign teams from the South East Asian region set to do battle for the coveted NJ Ryan Trophy.
This edition which will kick off on 28th February 2020 with each category finals scheduled for 1st March 2020 has witnessed a steady increase of interest over the years from not only the top rugby playing schools in Malaysia but also from schools from around the ASEAN region.
The tournament will again feature 24 teams consisting of 21 local premier rugby schools drawn from every state in the country as well as three strong foreign teams from around the region competing against each other for the right to be crowned Champions of this 10th edition.
President of the Malaysian Rugby Union (MRU), Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya, who attended the MCKK Premier 7s Rugby Tournament’s press conference today had only praise for the organizers of the tournament which is now in its 10th year of competition and is arguably the best platform for scouting junior rugby talent in the country, particularly for the 7s version of the game.
Shahrul disclosed that the “MCKK Premier 7s Rugby Tournament has a long history of producing many rugby players who went on to represent Malaysia on the international stage at both the youth as well as at the senior levels.”
“Competitions like the MCKK Premier 7s is seen as one of the more important platforms to ensure that young talented players get the right coaching during their school years”, added Shahrul.
Shahrul also mentioned that the presence of three foreign South East Asian teams promises something special for Malaysian rugby fans as these teams will provide strong opposition to the 21 Malaysian teams and that, “this proves that the development of Malaysian rugby is headed in the right direction and we hope that the young talented players who will emerge from this edition of the tournament will go on to make our country proud in the future.”
YM Tunku Dato’ Ahmad Burhanuddin, President of the Malay College Old Boys’ Association (MCOBA), was also excited with the organization of this landmark edition of the MCKK Premier 7s Rugby Tournament. “I am looking forward to the organization of the 10th edition. This competition has never failed to attract teams from overseas and we have seen a steady rise of interest from foreign teams wanting to participate in this tournament more so this year as it is Visit Malaysia Year 2020.”
The MCOBA President added, “I would like to thank all our sponsors, especially those who have been with MCKK Premier 7s from the start and sharing our goals in developing the game of rugby. We hope that one day, Malaysian rugby can stand tall as one of the top teams in the world, perhaps maybe even qualify for the Rugby World Cup. Not only that, getting involved with rugby can also develop good characteristics among our youth and inculcate in them the spirit of bravery and the will to keep fit even in their adult years.”
To be played at the hallowed rugby grounds of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), Perak, local teams that are set to challenge for the title presently held by Sekolah Menengah Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR) include Royal Military College and Victoria Institution of Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru’s English College, Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah of Putrajaya, as well as previous winners, Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI), SMK Sri Mersing and hosts MCKK.
MCKK Rugby Premier 7s also has an eager royal fan in His Royal Highness Sultan Perak, Paduka Seri Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfurlah. Sultan Nazrin is known for his love of rugby and is also the Royal Patron of the Malaysia Rugby Union (MRU).
For the record, SEMASHUR emerged champions in the previous edition, beating the hosts 24-10 in the final. SSTMI have won the title a record four times – in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017 – MCKK (2013), Scots College New Zealand (2014), Hong Kong Sports School (2015) and SMK Sri Mersing in 2018.