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Rugby is played throughout the world and origins from football in England in the early 1800s. It is often termed as a leisure. However, Rugby in Malaysia has a unique history which could mesmerize us. There are some evidences that display our predecessors playing rugby feverishly centuries ago. Some of us, we might have a strong opinion on how harsh the rugby game could be as it looks extremely intense, fierce and soul-wrenching fairly similar to a war, but most enthusiastic Malaysians would play rugby from dusk till dawn rather than snoozing.
In Malaysia, Rugby might not be as fabled and legendary as football which is screened on a television in a daily basis but still plays a crucial role in Malaysians’ heart. Some Malaysians believe that rugby was founded by a 16 years old boy named William Ellis. William, one day, interrupted a football game by picking up the ball and run towards the goal post. His friends then started to chase and tackle him physically in order to get the ball. Interestingly, the faster he ran with the ball, more players try to run after him to get the ball. This incident was recorded plainly in the school history but was not concise enough to make a change in the history of sports in the early 1800s. Based on my research, that’s what most Malaysians reckon the history of rugby due to an article in The Meteor which functions as an early proof. Ultimately, the evolution of rugby in Malaysia was quite slow due to First World War. In early 1900s, the first rugby game was held in Negeri Sembilan. In the meantime, the engagement of Europeans in volunteerism for preparing Malaysians Rugby team was highly greeted. In spite of this, the first rugby training was conducted in Padang Stesen, Seremban and drew attention of a huge number of local citizens. Approximately, 50 young men volunteered to join the rugby training and helped formed the first official Malaysia Rugby Team. Gradually, this incident then fascinated people of Selangor, Penang, Perak and Singapore. Each state in Malaysia then established their own rugby team such as The Edwardians (Taiping), The Birch Rompers (Perak), and The Penang Asians (Penang). The first rugby tournament, All Blues League, was held in 1934 and Perak appeared to be the Champion. In the same manner, this tournament was turned into an annual championship since it involved a tremendous amount of youngsters. Years later, another rugby championship, Malaya Cup, made its appearance, followed by “Piala Agong” which is the most famous rugby championship currently in Malaysia which is played between the 13 states in Malaysia.
The evolution of rugby game in Malaysia grows expeditiously as the government had included rugby as an official sport in “Kejohanan Anggota Kerajaan” and Malaysia School Sports Council (MSSM). This incident was, and is still, appreciated by a huge number of teenagers and young adults. On the contrary, as the news of Women’s Rugby Evolution from Ireland were delivered swiftly, it caught most women’s eyes and attention. Nonetheless, involvement of Europeans women in rugby in late 1900 inspired young women in Malaysia and eventually helped in organizing Malaysia Women’s Rugby Team. A decade ago, on the HMS Malaya Cup, European players are being challenged attentively by Malaysian players as Malaysian players are improving their standards, techniques, and physical and mental strengths intermittently. Now that the government promotes, arranges and imports coaches, strategists and players from Europe, Africa and even America, the performance of Malaysian players is cultivated and enhanced in many ways.
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