Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia. It has roughly over 40,000 registered players, including over 300 clubs and at least 600 schools teaching the game nationwide. Despite the standard of rugby is still at semi-professional, the national team is currently ranked 47th in the world and 6th in Asia.
Like any other British-influenced sports, rugby was introduced to then-Malaya in the late nineteenth century. It has had a steady presence since the beginning of the 20th century, when the Malaya Cup between Singapore national rugby union team and Malaya was established, which is one of the oldest rugby competitions in the world. The first inter-club match was played in 1902 between Singapore Cricket Club and Royal Selangor Club.
Governed by Malaysia Rugby, it is also one of the founding members of Asia Rugby. Malaysia also have been instrumental in setting up a number of other South Asian competitions, which have helped bolster the game in the region, amongst these were an Asian “round robin” tournament between Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
Despite never making it to the World Cup, Malaysia is already popular in world rugby due to the invention of ten-a-side rugby. Introduced by the Combined Old Boys Rugby Association (COBRA) of Malaysia in 1967, rugby tens offer players of diverse skills, capabilities and different fitness levels the opportunity to continue to enjoy the game they love so much. COBRA also organized the first rugby tens tournament that same year, making it the oldest rugby tens competition in the world.