The Malaysia Valke, as the professional unit of the East Rand side is known in the Rapid Rugby competition where they made their debut on Friday, return to South Africa with much to ponder.
Their first outing against the unbeaten Western Force ended in a runaway win for the home side in Perth who won 74-10 after leading 30-0 at the break.
Rapid Rugby developed from the Sanzaar decision to reduce the number of Super Rugby teams in 2018 and the Australian Rugby Union announced in August 2017 that the Western Force would be one of the teams cut from the 2018 competition.
In the following month, Perth-based businessman Andrew Forrest announced that he would create a new tournament called the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship which would include the Western Force and five other teams from the Indo-Pacific region. It has since been increased in size with teams from Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Samoa and Singapore.
The Valke earlier trained in Malaysia as a team from that country in the competition and have now played their first match.
There are some interesting law changes in Rapid Rugby that have been instrumental in making it a much faster game with more playing time per match than in Super Rugby.
♦ Played over only 70 minutes, the pace proved too much for the Valke with ten tries scored against them – including two power tries of nine points apiece.
Their absence in Perth forced them to make other arrangements for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Jaguares XV and 23 players from the Blue Bulls clubs, excluding their top two clubs Tuks and Naka Bulls, have been selected to play as Valke, with 20 making their Curie Cup debut for another union than their own!
♦ The Valke team included some players from abroad who form part of their professional unit with the following players making history, whether it be as a Malaysian entity or in practice a team from the Valke:
1. Juice Gumede, 2. Robey Leibrandt, 3. Heinrich Roelofse, 4. Shane Kirkwood (captain), 5. Jacques Alberts, 6. Thabo Mabuza, 7. Boela Venter, 8. Friedle Olivier, 9. Anrich Richter, 10. Errol Jaggers, 11. Leighton Van Wyk, 12. Grant Janke, 13. Andrew van Wyk, 14. Koert Cronjé, 15. Juan Nel. Replacements:16. Marco Klopper, 17. Luxolo Koza, 18. Martin Sithole, 19. Wihan Jacobs, 20. Johan Pretorius, 21. Lundi Ralarala, 22. Rodney Damons, 23. Samuel Meran, 24. Badrul Bin Muktee, 25. Franzwa Schutte