THE new National Stadium will play host to the Schools National C Division rugby championship final between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St Andrew's Secondary (SAS) on Tuesday, the first school final to be held at the new arena.
And to mark the historic occasion, some of the estimated 5,000 supporters will be travelling in style - by chartered MRT trains that will take students and staff of ACS(I) direct from its Dover Road campus to the Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang.
Said ACS(I) principal Winston Hodge said: "As we would have needed at least 80 buses to transport our students and staff, the trains are a cost-efficient way of bringing them from school to the Sports Hub safely and with ease.
"We hope that many years from now when our students are themselves parents, they'll bring their own children to the Sports Hub and speak of the first time they stepped into the stadium as part of our school family."
ACS(I) and SMRT declined to reveal the cost, but The Straits Times understands it will be about $2 a head.
SMRT vice-president of corporate information and communications Patrick Nathan said that the train operator had worked with schools in the past to charter trains and transport students for large-scale events such as the National Day Parade rehearsals.
He added: "Chartered trains run between normal train services and strictly within off-peak hours only. SMRT assures passengers that train intervals are maintained at normal service levels at all times.
"SMRT believes in supporting local education and national initiatives and will continue this support without compromising our core service delivery in ensuring reliable, safe journeys for all passengers."
In last year's final at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium, St Andrew's beat the same opponents 14-13 to lift the Goh Keng Swee Shield for the first time since 1990.
But ACS (I) are viewed as favourites this time after several emphatic victories, including a 73-0 thumping of SAS in an inconsequential group match a fortnight ago. They are making their 22nd straight final appearance, having won the title 16 times since 1993.
The two schools, both rugby powerhouses, also contested the B Division final in April, which SAS won 21-18.