Sabah women’s rugby team make history on Malaysia Day

The Sabah women’s rugby team made history by winning the first-ever Sukma gold medal in women’s rugby sevens. — Picture by Farhan Najib
The Sabah women’s rugby team made history by winning the first-ever Sukma gold medal in women’s rugby sevens. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Sept 16 — The Sabah women’s rugby team gave their state the perfect Malaysia Day gift today, by winning the first-ever Malaysian Games (Sukma) gold medal in women’s rugby sevens.

The East Malaysian team ran riot in today’s final, routing Selangor 31-0 at the Ipoh Sport Complex’s Perak rugby stadium.

Their steamrolling performance was a fitting display to mark their historic achievement of winning the first-ever women’s rugby sevens gold medal at a Malaysian Games event.

State captain Euphrasia Anne Cralis, who was euphoric with the win, dedicated the victory to the team’s family, friends and supporters back home.

She noted that the team had also kept a clean sheet throughout the tournament.

“It is a great present for everyone, especially on an important date like Malaysia Day,” she told reporters after the match.

“We’re all very proud, as we didn’t concede any points throughout the games.

“The key to our game is togetherness. We don’t play as individuals, but instead work as a team.”

Sabah’s Shania Suinani Baduk scores a try against Selangor in the women’s rugby sevens final at Sukma 2018 in Ipoh September 16, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Sabah’s Shania Suinani Baduk scores a try against Selangor in the women’s rugby sevens final at Sukma 2018 in Ipoh September 16, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Sabah literally dominated from start to finish, as their five tries included tries in the first and last minute.

Aguzta Epiphany Kissol opened the floodgates in the opening seconds, before Euphrasia scored Sabah’s second try only a minute later.

Shania Suinani Baduk got on the scoresheet with a sixth-minute try of her own, before Aguzta doubled her tally in the 10th minute.

Euphrasia added to her score with two conversions, while Divine Juvinol also notched up a conversion of her own.

Selangor thought their misery was over, but Emily Stephanie Chua Pui Yee put the icing on the cake with a try in the very last minute of the match.

Head coach Noel Phillip said he was elated with the team’s overall performance throughout the tournament.

“Our performance was not so good in a few tournaments before this, but they did very well today. I am very happy and very proud of them.”

“This group has a lot of experience together. They have a good understanding and this allows them to understand the techniques needed for the rugby sevens game.

“There is a lot of potential here. They can go far, and the Sabah Rugby Union will focus on improving their performance even further.”

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