Passion For Rugby

Fifty years ago, as the story goes, a group of diehard rugby players while partaking in their favourite nectar, had the thoughtfulness to discuss the bleak future of rugby players from not so well off backgrounds, after they leave school.

It must be pointed out that the group comprised mainly successful professionals who had graduated from universities and were doing well. At that time post-school rugby was mainly played either at universities or at social clubs. But not all rugby players made it to universities and social clubs were only for the well off.

The group decided that they should do something about it. 

They had the vision to form a club that would be open to all school leavers. That vision was fuelled by their passion for the sport they all loved so much and their desire to spread that passion. This care and concern for their fellow men, especially other rugby players, inspired them to form the Combined Old Boys Rugby Association (COBRA).

Those caring traits drew a host of budding rugby players to the club. And those very traits helped nurture and develop budding talents into state and national stars over the last five decades.

Apart from launching COBRA, which soon became synonymous with rugby in Malaysia, this group of wise gentlemen also gave the rugby world the 10-a-side format. The first COBRA 10s was also organised 50 years ago by COBRA. The rest is history.

The traits displayed by that group of founding members are the same which have guided the club over the last half century. One will hear very similar stories from many who played for COBRA: “I came from a poor background and the only way I could continue playing rugby was to join COBRA.

Not only was I warmly welcomed as a member but I would also be assisted financially. In addition, the seniors who were mainly professionals would volunteer to pick me up for training or matches.” There was never any “one-up manship” or elitism in COBRA. The foundations laid by that group of caring founding members helped build a club, managed by volunteers to this day.

Over the years the club apart from developing and contributing players to state and national teams has also been a source of officials for state and national rugby associations.

One of our main objectives has always been the promotion and development of rugby. This inspired us to introduce the COBRATs section to cater to budding talent from pre-school years. The Club also launched the first structured nationwide school rugby program thanks to the trust placed in us by BCHB, which eventually became CIMB. The CIMB-COBRA Schools Rugby Development Programme which ran until 2014 was a runaway success.

Hundreds of teachers were trained as coaches and referees and at least 60,000 students benefited from our coaching clinics. In addition, we introduced the first-ever Schools Under 16 Rugby 10s. 

This soon became an international event. Subsequently in 2015 COBRA was able to launch the first ever National Under 19 League. For this, we are thankful to Yayasan Rakyat 1 Malaysia. From the league, we also identified and selected the national under 19 teams and managed their participation in the Asian Under 19 Rugby Competition. Thanks to YR1M we were also introduced to and accepted by Laureus Sports for Good Foundation as a partner.

The IOC saw it fitting to award us the coveted IOC Diploma. While the Yang Di Pertuan Agong bestowed upon us the Sports Leadership award. Malaysia Rugby Union also declared us the Best Club for Rugby Development. These achievements and accolades have been made possible by two generations of rugby fanatics who volunteer to do so much purely to return a little to the Club and the game which had moulded them into what they became.

TOMMY PEREIRA
President of COBRA Rugby Club
2019 – Present

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