Towards the end of first half, rain builds up steadily during one of the most intense Cup Final Piala Agong 2019 between Sabah and Terengganu last Saturday. As anyone would expect, heavy downpour and a wet pitch invites handling errors in a rugby game. But not this particular game as it was packed with well coordinated plays from both teams with minimum handling errors.
Fans of both sides gasped and awed in silence with every contacts, tries and memorable highlights made during the first half. Terengganu, a side that came close to winning the Cup during the 2016 season only to lose it to Johor in the Final, are not letting history repeated itself on the day as they were seen as the more organized side. Sabah still put up a great fight as the game ended its first half with Sabah trailing Terengganu by 13 to 14.
As the second half started, the weather was starting to look up and answered most people prayers by not having the beautiful game stopped midway. The game opened up a little bit once the rain died down and the crowd started to cheer and sing to spur the players on.
Sabah, a side always known to be a crowd favourite with its style of play under the tutelage of Brad Mika, scored an unconverted try and a penalty to keep the score at 21 to 14. Without the former All Blacks Luke McAlister, who are currently plying his trade in Japan this season with Tokyo’s Shimizu Blue Sharks, Sabah is still practically the same side that won last year’s edition as experience came in handy for them to take the lead.
Terengganu, a side packed with fully fledged national players with Syahir Asraf Rosli and Amirul Mukminin to name a few, did not show signs of giving up as they keep harassing the second balls and being more the aggressive side after conceding the lead. Terengganu team captain, Syahir Asraf Rosli, tried to mount a comeback by scoring the equalizer under the post in the 70th minute mark.
At this point, Sabah were losing the grip on the game as Terengganu’s forwards started to show their quality by winning most scrums and rucks. Although Sabah did manage to regain the lead through a converted penalty to keep the tension rising right until the end.
In a dramatic fashion, the horn hail that marked the end of the half was blown during a Terengganu’s forwards attack on Sabah’s 5 metre line. The sound of the siren seems to spur Terengganu players on as they know its now or never while the crowds were going crazy for them to make history on that field.
Amirul Mukminin, who were a constant thorn for Sabah throughout the game, managed to pick up the ball and scored the match winning try to hand Terengganu its first Piala Agong Cup throughout its 37 years of history.
Terengganu joins the likes of PDRM, ATM, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, Sabah, Kedah, Johor and Perak as the 10th champion in Ragbi Piala Agong history books. The match winning displays throughout the tournament earns Terengganu RM15,000 as Cup Champions, while Sabah netted a cool RM10,000 as Cup Runners Up.