National rugby Sevens coach Yusli Ramli is under significant pressure ahead of the next round of the Asian Sevens Series
National rugby Sevens coach Yusli Ramli is skating on thin ice.
Things have not been smooth sailing for the national rugby side after losing all their Group C matches at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last month.
To add insult to injury, the team managed just one win in five matches at the Hong Kong leg of the ARFU Asian Rugby Sevens Series last month.
(The Series comprises three legs: Hong Kong, Malaysia and China.)
Yusli has one last assignment – the Malaysian Sevens on Sept 6 and 7 – to save his job. Otherwise, he could be axed ahead of the Sept 19-Oct 4 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“We have given Yusli a KPI (key performance index) for the Malaysian-leg. We want a top-five finish ... just like last year. If he’s able to deliver, then it’s a good move forward. This will be his litmus test ... whether he stays on as the Sevens coach,” said Malaysian Rugby Union secretary general Suhaimi Zainuddin.
In Hong Kong, Malaysia got off to a good start in Group A by beating United Arab Emirates 40-0. But, they then fell 28-0 to Japan.
They went on to lose 31-19 to Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals before narrowly losing 12-10 to Singapore in the plate semi-final. The team finished eighth after another defeat - 24-7 to the Philippines in the 7th-placing playoff.
“Team morale is at an all-time low. We expected the Glasgow Games to be tough. The teams competing were of World Cup quality. It has really smashed their spirits. In Hong Kong, you could see the players were second guessing themselves in the Japan match,” said Suhaimi.
“They’re a young side built from scratch exclusively to form a Sevens team. They do lack some technical experience, but we hope they can mature in the next two to three years.”