Rugby: Rugby youngsters get chance to train in South Africa

Marcus Ng Weii (left) and Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor (right) with former All Black Scott Waldrom after being selected for a two-week training stint in Wellington.
Marcus Ng Weii (left) and Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor (right) with former All Black Scott Waldrom after being selected for a two-week training stint in Wellington.PHOTO: SINGAPORE RUGBY UNION

It started with two budding locals earning the opportunity to train at one of New Zealand's top provincial rugby unions last year.

Now, two other starlets will be selected to do the same in South Africa, as part of an arrangement between Singapore and the two-time world champions.

The training stint at one of South Africa's famed youth academies will take place next year, after Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor and Marcus Ng Weii's two-week stint with Super Rugby side Wellington Hurricanes in June. The same selection criteria will be used - a coach will identify talent from a local training camp.

Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) president Low Teo Ping said of the arrangement, which was revealed yesterday: "They (players) will get a chance to work with rugby players from their (South Africa) youth academy, and get exposure in a training camp."

According to him, the details of the programme, which will last a "week or so", is still in the works.

The arrangement, part of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens youth outreach programme, is the latest advancement in the deepening relationship between the SRU and the South Africa Rugby Union (Saru).

Saru has sent its developmental sides to the Republic regularly to compete in the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) Sevens, and will also conduct clinics for local coaches and players during the Singapore Sevens tournament week. The two-day event will be held from April 16-17.

On the significance of the unions' relationship, SRU's vice-president (high performance) Jonathan Leow said: "Partnering major unions like South Africa and New Zealand is always going to benefit a smaller union like ours, through technical know-how, coaching, strength conditioning, and how they structure their programmes."

He also identified coaching development and player exchange as areas that "we want to look into" with Saru in the future.

"It's good to have an open channel to exchange and learn different ways of doing things," he said.

"At the end of the day, if you want to improve, you must learn from the best."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Rugby youngsters get chance to train in S. Africa'. Print Edition | Subscribe