Malaysia and Thailand keep RWC hopes alive
Malaysia and Thailand kept alive their hopes of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2015 with victories against China and Iran in their respective HSBC Asian 5 Nations division 2 semi finals at the Stadium Kelana Jaya in Kuala Lumpur.
The two sides now meet in the final this weekend, with the winner progressing to meet the Division 3 winner - either India or Guam - in a play-off to determine who will join Division 1 in 2013 and retain the chance to qualify for Rugby's biggest event in 2015.
Divisions 2 and 3 of Asia's multi-tiered championship are both being played this week in Malaysia and are doubling as the latest stage in Asian RWC qualifying.
Thailand 37-17 Iran
It was a battle between pace and power between second seeds Thailand and third seeds Iran, with the former winning out, the Thais moving their larger, heavier opponents around the park in steamy conditions.
"I’m very proud of my team, we knew that Iran would pose a very physical challenge for us today but we had the benefit of some experienced players and some young blood that really fit our game plan of trying to keep out of contact and move the Iranians around to tire them out," said Thai captain, Tanyavit Kuasint.
“But it is only one match and we have come here to earn promotion to Division I and try and qualify for the Rugby World Cup, so we still have a lot of work to do.”
Malaysia 89-0 China
In the day’s second match hosts Malaysia proved much too strong for China, running out 89-0 by scoring 14 unanswered tries.
“We were keen to get a good start and we couldn’t ask for more than we had today," said Malaysia coach, Boon Chee Hee.
"Now we will face Thailand in the final and there is a long rivalry between us and Thailand so I am sure the team will be ready once again. We will now go away and work on how to contain the Thai backline, which is quite strong and will pose a stiff challenge. I think it is going to be a very entertaining final on Saturday.”
On Friday India and Guam contest the Division 3 final, while Indonesia and Pakistan will contest third place.