On February 21, 2008, the International Rugby Board (IRB) confirmed the introduction of this major international Tournament to the Rugby calendar in April. The IRB-supported competition, which will involve Japan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Korea and the Arabian Gulf, will play an important role in the ongoing development of the Game across the Region.
The IRB is committed to increasing global playing standards and the Tournament, which has received funding in the form of a US$500,000 IRB grant, represents the pinnacle of a complete restructuring of competition structures in Asia by the Region’s governing body, the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU).
The Tournament is considered vital for the development and expansion of Rugby throughout Asia and will give our elite players the chance to perform in front of a significantly expanded TV audience, whilst providing a platform for development at all other levels.
The Asian Five Nations Tournament is the pinnacle of four newly formed tiers of elite competition across all 25 Asian Rugby Unions with promotion and relegation opportunities between divisions for all participating teams. The last placed team in the Asian Five Nations in 2008 will be relegated to the 2009 Division One competition and the top team in Division One will gain promotion to the Asian Five Nations. The promotion and relegation policy will also be in effect for the Division One and Division Two competitions, guaranteeing an opportunity for all Unions to advance on the world stage.
In the HSBC/ARFU 5 Nation (AFN) that was held recently, Japan was crowned Champion whilst Korea, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan was 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. It was unfortunate for Arabian Gulf, as the were demoted to division 2.
The first Division will include Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Singapore and Sri Lanka. This tournament will be held hosted by Chinese Taipei. The second Division teams are Thailand, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. This tournament will played between 11th till 16th June in Bangkok, Thailand.
4 regional divisions were set up to help the developing rugby nation to improve their standard of the game. In the Asia Pacific Regional Tournament, Guam, Philippines and Brunei will be playing in Hagåtña, Guam from 28th June till 5th July 2008.
In the South East Asia regional division; Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos were grouped together. This division will be played in Jakarta, Indonesia. Iran, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were grouped under the Central Asian division and Macau, Mongolia and Qatar is grouped together in the other regional division. No dates have yet been announced for both these divisions.
Meanwhile, the Brunei National Team has been training together since 21st May to select the National team touring to Guam. 24 players will be selected for this squad, which will be headed by BRFU President, Dr Haji Kamaruddin bin Dato’ Seri Paduka Haji Talib as the team manager and Zakaria Haji Hamzah as the Head Coach. They will be assisted by Ainol Razman Ghazaly as the Assistant Manager as well as the Forwards Coach.
The players will be officially named on Saturday 7th June 2008 after the friendly match against RBAF in Berakas Camp at 4.15pm.