Rugby: Olympic winners coming for SCC 7s

Jasa Veremalua, one of four Olympians in the Daveta SCC 7s squad, scoring a try in Fiji's 43-7 thrashing of Britain in the Rio rugby sevens final at Deodoro Stadium. The Games marked the first time the sport was played at the Olympics in 92 years.
Gold medallists Fiji (all blue), silver medallists Britain (white and blue) and bronze medallists South Africa on the rugby sevens podium at the Rio Olympics in August. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Gold medallists Fiji (all blue), silver medallists Britain (white and blue) and bronze medallists South Africa on the rugby sevens podium at the Rio Olympics in August.
Jasa Veremalua, one of four Olympians in the Daveta SCC 7s squad, scoring a try in Fiji’s 43-7 thrashing of Britain in the Rio rugby sevens final at Deodoro Stadium. The Games marked the first time the sport was played at the Olympics in 92 years.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

4 Fijians to feature for six-time champions Daveta; British and South African medallists also due

Next month's Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby sevens (SCC 7s) is set to be a glittering affair with several Olympic medallists set to grace the Padang.

The Nov 4 to 6 line-up includes four members of Fiji's gold-winning sevens squad. Returning after two years to the tournament they last won in 2012, six-time champions Daveta's star-studded squad will include Apisai Domolailai, Jasa Veremalua and Jerry Tuwai. They were in the sevens team who won the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal at the recent Games. A fourth player from the Rio squad will be named later.

They will be joined by several other national players from the Olympic squads of Rio silver medallists Britain and bronze medallists South Africa, including Blitzboks skipper Kyle Brown.

The 69th edition of the annual three-day rugby festival at the Padang will feature a total of 21 teams from nine countries including Malaysia, France, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, all vying to lift the Ablitt Cup.

And this year, to encourage more spectators to turn up at the event, organisers have reduced ticket prices by more than half, from $60 last year to $20 (early-bird price) for three days.

Jonathan Leow, the co-chairman of the SCC 7s' organising committee and Singapore Rugby Union vice-president, said: "To have Olympic medallists coming here gives a lot of credibility and quality to the competition.

"This is the 69th edition and to do something new each year is challenging for us. We have seen a fair share of rugby stars coming every year. The standards have risen year after year. On paper, this is one of the strongest fields we have had.

"We want to make sure that this tournament is more affordable for everyone."

But the fast-paced world-class rugby action is not just confined to the SCC 7s.

Daveta will be playing a touch rugby exhibition game with a Singapore selection side on Oct 29 at the Tanglin Rugby Club at Turf City.

The Fijians will also be conducting coaching clinics, organised by the Touch Association Singapore (TAS), from Oct 27 to 29 for about 600 teenagers and children between the ages of five and 18.

TAS' executive committee member Jason Hoang expects about 1,000 people to turn up to watch the friendly match.

He said that the opportunities to interact with the Olympic medallists will create a buzz among the rugby and touch rugby communities alike.

He said: "There will be a massive buzz. Many players and fans would want to see these guys in the flesh and to see them showcase their skills up close.

"It's going to be an enormous opportunity for everyone who plays rugby to see them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Olympic winners coming for SCC 7s'. Print Edition | Subscribe