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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koupreys look to knock spots off Leopards in two A5N ties

Koupreys look to knock spots off Leopards in two A5N ties

A Cambodian player gets pulled back by a Brunei player during their Asian 5 Nations Division V clash
A Cambodian player gets pulled back by a Brunei player during their Asian 5 Nations Division V clash on June 26 last year. Sreng Meng Srun

Koupreys look to knock spots off Leopards in two A5N ties

Cambodian national rugby team the Kourpreys will host a double-header against Brunei today and Sunday at the Old Stadium in the 2013 HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division V international tournament, with both matches marked for a 3pm start.

The two sides met in the opener of the same event at the same venue last year when the Koupreys blew up a 15-0 lead and saw Brunei score a comeback 19-15 victory.

It could well make a good case for deja vu all over, but Koupreys coach Laurie Karatau strongly believes that his side can turn it around this time even though he had no part to play in that game.

“The members who played against Brunei last year realise that they let themselves down by not playing consistently for the full 80 minutes and letting Brunei come back,” Karatau told the Post.

“I have seen the video footage of the game and feel that one of the problems was lack of good leadership and lack of stamina and fitness. We have worked these deficiencies this year.

“Brunei are going to be physically bigger and will try to dominate the game up front. We will counter this by getting down quicker to the breakdowns, gaining quick possession, strong defensive positioning, hard tackling and creating open spaces out wide,” added the coach.

Self belief had never been higher in the Cambodian camp with the coach reasserting the side’s positive attitude with encouraging words. “We now believe that our strengths will cover whatever weaknesses we may have had in the past,” he said.

A strong competitive front row could count among the home side’s notable forte, while nimble-footed loose forwards Long Dy, Lavy Arashad and Matt Reese could also make a huge difference, according to Karatau.

The attacking potential of captain Vanak Vireak at centre is a clear plus for the side to go with an exciting young fly half in Alexis Chevallier and fullback Nheb Rotha.

Meanwhile, Brunei’s Samoan coach Ben Bourne has gathered a strong squad of 24 and has been putting them through the paces in preparation for this tour.

Brunei captain Mohamed Azahar Awg Timbang recently told the Brunei Times that their upcoming double clash would be an indication as to how well prepared the team were.

“Bourne has filled our time with morning, afternoon and evening training sessions,” Timbang was quoted as saying.

“Our training sessions all had proper training management and we’ve had a month to train, but that is still not enough at this level. We only had two weeks of training last year and all we could do were drills.”

The Brunei national team, nicknamed the Leopards, have reportedly gone through conditioning training in the mornings, weight sessions in the afternoons and field work at nights over the last three weeks as part of a rigorous preparation.

Admission is free to the members of the public for both matches, according to the Cambodian Rugby Federation.

Cambodian Squad
Suasdey Chea – Front Row
Kimseang Chro – Front Row
Dara Uk – Front Row
Richard Flanagan – Front Row
Chhan Vanyuth – Flanker
Ut Vuthy – Lock / Flanker
Matt Rees – Flanker / Front Row
Vong Long Dy – Flanker
Chey Sophol – Lock / Front Row
Julien Roumy – Lock
Vannak Vong – Flanker
Dan Wetherall – Lock / No 8
Lavy Arashad – Flanker / No 8
Luke Wilkie – Scrum Half
Ratana Pich – Scrum Half
Alexis Chevalier – Fly Half
Vanak Vireak – Centre
Daniel Parkes – Centre
Hun Hean – Wing/ Centre
Norn Vanara – Wing/ Fullback
Nheb Rotha – Fullback
Lav Yu Ra – Wing
Chan Samedi – Center
Sophea Phan – Lock/ Flanker
Lach Sopera – Center/ Fly Half
Khemrin Dul – Fullback/ Wing
Coach: Laurie Karatau
Manager: Jean-Baptise Suberbie

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