KUALA LUMPUR: The national rugby team, also known as The Hibiscus, found themselves playing second fiddle to South Korea, going down 27-3 in their Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) 2023 match at the Saidina Hamzah Stadium, International Islamic University, Malaysia (UIAM), here, today.

World number 49 Malaysia can take consolation from the fact that they at least managed to get three points when Mohd Fairuz Ab Rahman converted a penalty in the 17th minute against the world number 30 Asian giants.

South Korea shot into a 20-3 lead in the first half thanks to tries by Chang Yongcheung in the second minute, Kim Kimin (28th minute) and Lee Geon (39th minute), which Kimin converted.

Kimin also scored a penalty in the 36th minute.

After the break, South Korea added one more try through Hwang Jeongwook in the 42nd minute, which Kimin converted.

The match was halted in the 66th minute due to rain and lightning before resuming 50 minutes later and it had to be ended earlier to prevent any untoward incident.

National coach Mohd Farid Syazwan Abu Bakar was satisfied with the discipline and determination displayed by his 15-a-side squad despite them not having sufficient time to prepare for the match.

“I feel a little disappointed because the team worked hard but I saw a lot of positives from this match that we can take to the next game as the players, especially the newcomers, rose to the occasion playing at the highest level,” he said.

The Hibiscus will take on defending champions Hong Kong on June 10 at the Hong Kong Football Stadium.-Bernama