Schools: ACS(I) boys get over the line again and again

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)'s Jason Goh (with ball) breaks away to score his side's fourth try in the A Division rugby final against Raffles Institution. ACS(I) secured their third straight A Division crown.
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)'s Jason Goh (with ball) breaks away to score his side's fourth try in the A Division rugby final against Raffles Institution. ACS(I) secured their third straight A Division crown. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Few school teams can boast the same degree of dominance as the current A Division rugby team of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).

Since they won the Under-11 schools title in 2009, they have swept every age-group schools national title except the 2014 B Division.

Yesterday, they claimed another crown, finishing their schools national rugby career with a flourish by beating old rivals Raffles Institution (RI) 36-3 at the Ministry of Education Physical Education and Sports Education Branch on Evans Road.

For this graduating Year 6 batch, it was the perfect end to their rugby journey.

A jubilant ACS(I) captain Ethan Ho, 18, said: "These guys have stuck through thick and thin ever since we were in Primary 3, playing together for 10 years. It's really some moment to end it on a high note.

"After being an ACSian for 12 years, it doesn't get better than this."

Head coach Adrian Chong was equally effusive with his praise of the players, saying: "They are quite special. They already have a winning mentality about them and they don't know what giving up is.

"I think those are traits that make champions. That is why they are so successful as a team."

Such was their dominance that Chong could afford to give the Year 5 players a run-out in the second half, having already run up a 26-0 lead by half-time through tries from Lim Shern, Daniel Ho and Jason Goh.

An early second-half penalty by fly-back Christopher Mak gave the Rafflesians and their raucous support some hope, but a quick-fire try by ACS(I) full-back Lim Shern, his third of the match, effectively killed off the tie. Prop Bryan Foo put the icing on the cake with a try three minutes from time.

It was ACS(I)'s third consecutive A Division crown.

With this batch of RI boys playing in their first rugby final since Secondary 1, captain Harish Rai, 17, said: "I'm very proud of the boys. We were up against a much more experienced ACS(I) team... but everybody put up a good fight, and we did our best."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'ACS(I) boys get over the line again and again'. Print Edition | Subscribe