Rugby: Inaugural Southeast Asia Sevens held in Singapore in April

The National Stadium pitch undergoing works in preparation for the Singapore leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in April 2016.
The National Stadium pitch undergoing works in preparation for the Singapore leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in April 2016. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - The inaugural Southeast Asia Sevens (SEA 7s) will be held in Singapore in April, organisers announced on Thursday.

Endorsed by World Rugby and the Asia Rugby Football Union, the April 15-16 tournament will be held during the same week as the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens.

The men's competition will involve eight teams from around the region, including host Singapore, while the women's division will have six nations.

The first tournament day will be held at Yio Chu Kang Stadium and admission is free. The Saturday finals for both the men's and women's events will be held at the National Stadium and will require a valid HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens ticket for entry.

Said Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping: "The SEA 7s is a key pillar in promoting the game of rugby 7s in the region and is a platform for players around the region to not only compete, but learn from each other and from the best in the world during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens in Singapore.

"Creating the SEA 7s tournament was key in our strategy of using the Singapore 7s as a catalyst for development of the game in South East Asia. The SEA 7s will provide unions regular opportunities to play as a region and to help each other improve."

At last year's Singapore SEA Games, rugby sevens returned after a eight-year absence and the Philippines and Thailand won the men's and women's competitions respectively.

The sport has also been included in the initial short-list of 34 sports to be featured at next year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore, led by national captains Daniel Marc Chow and Alvinia Ow, secured a bronze (men's) and silver (women's) medal at the 2015 Games on home soil.

Said Chow: " For any player who has ever donned the national jersey, the privilege to play in front of your home supporters, with your friends and family in the stands, that is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"We had tremendous support at last year's SEA Games tournament and our aim is to qualify for the SEA 7s final. It will be a dream if we can ignite the Kallang Roar and win the tournament in front of the home fans."