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UTP Drillers concocts a new formula with elite programme

UTP a breeding ground for future pro rugby players

Rugby at UTP has long played an oversized role in the university's sports development. The uncanny power that the sport imposes has become an identity that defies what others typically make of engineering and science students.


As the game grows in popularity at UTP, in the years to come, UTP's rugby players will be refining their game through an elite programme and a measured performance pathway.

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In light of this, more equipment will be added to the university's rugby center in stages. Azrizal Hashri, UTP Drillers' advisor, says, “We are the top rugby team for a private university. Soon, we are going to have an elite rugby programme at UTP. Our main objective is to become the center for grassroot rugby development in the country."


Of these, UTP Drillers' captain, Mohd Farhan says, “What's going on is kind of amazing. We are going to have young players scouted from all over Malaysia. Here they will not just get access to some of the best sports equipment, but they will also be coached through an up and coming rugby academy."


There's been a strong push since a number of state players joined UTP Drillers' ranks. Since its inception, the team has overseen the development of a number of state players who have gone on to represent various states. Currently, the team boasts state players who have played for Perak, Kedah and Wilayah Persekutuan at last year's Piala Agong 2019.


Azrizal says, “We hold our own rugby tournament every year called UTP Super Rugby 10. Currently, the tournament is a fixture in Malaysia Rugby Union's yearly calendar.


According to Azrizal, UTP Super Rugby 10 has been held since 2015. To bring focus to the university's effort to further grassroot rugby development, for the last two years, the university has included under 14, 15 and 19 categories in a bid to create more avenues for young rugby teams to gain experience.


Azrizal says, “We want to make sure good rugby players don't waste their talent. Unfortunately, many players who go abroad to study don't get ample opportunities to develop their potential. This is why we have collaborated with the Ministry of Higher Education to establish an elite rugby programme here at UTP. Here. We are able to provide both, first-rate education and a rugby programme for those interested to pursue a playing career in rugby."


There is a large number of inter-university rugby tournaments held every year says Azrizal. Therefore, this presents a good opportunity for local players to compete and harness their playing ability.


At UTP, players are given the opportunity to gain experience abroad as the team goes out to compete at international tournaments at least once every year.


Following this, a plan to create a rugby-specific fitness center is in the pipeline.  Meanwhile, Farhan says, “The standard of the sport here is changing because of the efforts. Now, the key to the sport's growth rests with its players. We have all the support we need."


UTP Drillers' caretaker manager, Afiq Danial Zurkarnan, 19, says, “We have a strong 7-a-side rugby outfit here. With the elite programme, we can continue to strengthen our position in 7- a-side tournaments."


For the last two years, UTP Drillers had won Kejohanan Sukan Majlis Sukan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (MASISWA) on the trot. In addition, every year, UTP Drillers competes at the Ministry of Higher Education's Super 8 Rugby Tournament IPT. The tournament features the top eight rugby teams from public and private universities.


In short, the team has a stronghold at every local rugby tournament where it had won multiple awards for the best men's team at Mahasiswa in 2014, ​2015 and 2018.


Recently, the team won bronze at Sukan Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi (SUKIPT) held at National University of Malaysia (UKM).


And aside from local tournaments, UTP Drillers has also garnered good finishes at a number of tournaments abroad. Namely, the team had earned plate finishes at tournaments in Bali and Hatyai previously.


“With support from YUTP, we can gain valuable experience by playing at international rugby tournaments. You don't get this elsewhere."


Indeed, this is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.


As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.

Published on 11 June 2020​