KUALA LUMPUR: Injured Yamaha Jubilo star K. Dinesvaran has urged his national teammates to leave their respect for Hong Kong and South Korea on the sidelines when they lock horns in the Asia Rugby Championships (ARC) Tri Nations Division in April.
Dinesvaran said it is important for the national squad, competing in the Asian top tier for the first time, not to be intimidated if they are to do well in the competition and avoid relegation.
The 29-year-old will miss the tournament, having broken his arm during Jubilo's Japan Top League clash against fellow contenders Panasonic Wild Knights on Dec 24. He is expected to be out for at least five months.
"Hong Kong and South Korea deserve great respect but that should end the moment we step onto the pitch," said Dinesvaran, better known in Japan by his nickname Duke Krishnan.
"We cannot afford to be in awe of them and be afraid on the pitch.
"We need to focus, believe in our own abilities and carry out our individual duties so we can function well as a team.
"This is the only way we will be able to play to our full potential and hopefully get a good result.
"I will be back to support the team from the sidelines during the competition and this is exactly what I will tell all the boys regardless of whether they are new or very experienced."
Dinesvaran believes that Hong Kong and South Korea are also wary of playing against Malaysia.
"They, too, are worried about playing against us as we have been close to unbeatable (in 15s) for the past few years.
"They know that we have a good team and we also have naturalised players in the squad, so it will not be a walk in the park for them."
Malaysia have won every ARC division that they have played in since Lee Nyuk Fah became national coach in 2014. Their only loss since 2014 was against Philippines in their ARC Division One opener last year.