Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rugby days in SMSJ 1974-1975

Cikgu Yunus is well remembered by many ex SMSJ students. In those days, he was a hulk of a man and very menacing-looking with his commando style moustache. He walks like a bear, stands like a tree and runs like the wind - these words sum him well. A former Malaysian rugger player, he is actually a nice guy if you knew him well. His job in SMSJ as a Physical Education teacher was to whip the asses of us boys and turn us into men! He was instructed to turn SMSJ into a sporting power house in Kluang.

In 1974 SMSJ was a new school and the second full boarding school in Johor after Sekolah Tun Fatimah. Most students were from Johor and some from nearby Malacca. I remembered the Malacca boys were all like Michael Jackson, light with their feet when it comes to "joget lambak." The Malacca boys were mostly in 5M1 and 5M2 and a number of them are doctors and specialist now.

Traditionally Kluang English High School (SAS) holds most of the sporting titles in Kluang. Batminton, rugger, hockey and football were the traditional games played every season between schools in MSSD. The best player will be chosen from there to represent Kluang at the inter district level. The cream will represent Johor in MSSM. My youngest brother Zaidi (SPM 82) represented Johor in Sepak Takraw while another brother Zulkiflee (SPM 81) played hockey for Johor in MSSM together with the famous Sirjit Singh. When SMSJ was established we became their greatest competitor in almost all sport events.

I still remember when Cikgu Yunus wanted to pick the boys to undergo rugby training, he would ask all of us to run 10 times around the field at the entrance of our school, in front of the barracks . Those still standing after 10 rounds will then undergo the basic rugby training. His training was tough but the kampong boys were equally made of steel and finally he managed to form a formidable team to challenge SAS.

Zambri, Saabana, Zakaria, Yusof Selamat, Hamzah Harith, Ahmad Aban, Rosli, arwah Mahat and the rest gave their best when the crunch came during the battles with our rival. Cikgu Yunus managed to polish those rough kampong diamonds into rugby stars. What Saabana described was true, every match was like a group of gladiators in the coliseum, fighting for their life, and when push came to shove, only the tough ones remained . The English must have been drunk when they said "rugby is a gentleman's game" !!!

Till now i still love watching rugby. I was told many seniors of SMSJ are still involve with playing rugby in some league. Some even played for Cobra and this is one of the proud legacies from SMSJ. Today SMSJ is one of the top rugby powerhouse in the country and equal in standing to RMC and Sekolah Shah Alam.

Thank you Cikgu Yunos for a job well done!

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