Rugby: Singapore's 15-a-side women's team to face 1st international Test match in 2 years

Singapore women's 15s coach Wang Shao Ing is using the Hong Kong game on Saturday to gauge her team's current standard after two years without a Test.
Singapore women's 15s coach Wang Shao Ing is using the Hong Kong game on Saturday to gauge her team's current standard after two years without a Test. PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore's 15-a-side women's rugby team will play their first international Test match in two years on Saturday.

They will face Hong Kong as a curtain-raiser for the Super Rugby match between the Sunwolves and the Stormers at the National Stadium.

Opportunities have been scarce for the women as the focus of the region's teams was on rugby sevens, which featured at major sport events including the SEA Games and Asian Games.

But while the sevens team enjoyed success by finishing runners-up at last year's SEA Games, the 15-a-side team last played at the Asian Four Nations Championship in May 2014, when they lost to Kazakhstan, Japan and Hong Kong.

But from last year, the competition has featured just the top three teams, squeezing Singapore out.

Given their inactivity, the odds of a victory are heavily stacked against Singapore. They have won just once - in 2013- in nine meetings.

National coach Wang Shao Ing will be using the game to gauge the current standard of her team.

Singapore are ranked sixth in Asia, behind Kazakhstan, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

And while the Test is a chance for Singapore to earn ranking points, the 39-year-old tactician is not looking too much at the results or rankings.

The former national sevens captain, who played at the Asian Games in 2014, said: "This gives us a good indication (of where we stand) when we pit ourselves against them. If we show that we can compete against the likes of Hong Kong... we can go against the top three.

"As the years have gone by, the top three have pulled further away.

"I don't think we're focusing on the outcome. We're looking at our processes and (applying) our new attacking framework."

Alvin Chia

ASIA MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP DIV I

Philippines v Singapore: StarHub Ch202, 2.30pm Malaysia v Sri Lanka: 4.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Rare Test for S'pore women'. Print Edition | Subscribe