KUALA KANGSAR (2 March 2019): Hailing from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, almost 6000 km away from Kuala Kangsar, Shizuoka Seiko Academy (SSA) are enjoying every single minute of their adventure at the MCKK Premier 7s.
Coached by Sasaki Yohei, the competition’s only foreign team arrived in Kuala Kangsar on Thursday and immediately got down to business, fine tuning their game at MCKK’s hallowed rugby grounds in anticipation of their opening match against Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Sulaiman (ART), Kuala Terengganu.
“We are very excited to be part of this tournament. We have brought 12 players and 3 teachers and when we arrived on Thursday, we have seen that this is a big tournament,” said Sasaki.
“There are big tents everywhere and we hope to make many new friends here,” he added.
Bringing a development squad to the nation’s premier sevens schools tournament, Sasaki realises that it will be an uphill task to win the tournament.
His fears were proven right when his young team succumbed to a 5-17 loss to ART today. SSA’s points were contributed through a try by Fumiya Hirano.
Rather, his stated ambition is to meet the hosts, MCKK All Blacks in the knock out rounds due to his deep affinity with the school dubbed ‘The Eton of the East’.
“Previously, in June or July, I was invited to be part of an international student summit at MCKK.
“That’s where I came to know of the MCKK Premier 7s. They invited me and my academy to be part of this prestigious tournament.
“My dream is to meet the MCKK All Blacks as they are a strong team. We hope to meet them in the latter stages of the tournament.
“My team was affected by the heat and the referee’s decision to disallow our try which would have put us ahead.
“Hopefully my young team can give a good fight to the other teams at this tournament,” he added.
SSA which is making its debut in this tournament, will have the opportunity to make amends when they face Sekolah Menengah King George V, Seremban (KGV) and Sekolah Menengah Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR) in Group E.
The MCKK Premier 7S which is entered its ninth edition features 23 local teams and 1 foreign team challenging to claim the NJ Ryan Trophy will take place from Friday
till Sunday at the MCKK rugby field.
For the record, SSTMI has won four titles in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017, MCKK (2013), Scots College New Zealand (2014), Hong Kong Sports School (2015) and SMK Sri Mersing in 2018.