Singapore men and women advance to SEA 7s finals

Singapore's Lai Pui San in action during the 28-7 victory against Laos during the SEA 7s group matches at Yio Chu Kang Stadium yesterday. The home side will take on Thailand in today's final.
Singapore's Lai Pui San in action during the 28-7 victory against Laos during the SEA 7s group matches at Yio Chu Kang Stadium yesterday. The home side will take on Thailand in today's final.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Perry Baker will be in action today at the National Stadium as the HSBC Singapore Sevens kicks off, but local rugby fans will also see their own national athletes donning the nation's red jerseys on the same pitch as the superstars.

The national men's and women's rugby sevens teams both booked their spots in the inaugural South-east Asia Sevens finals, after the pool and play-off matches at Yio Chu Kang Stadium yesterday.

The men's team hammered their Group B opponents Indonesia (45-0), Laos (31-0) and Brunei (47-0) to finish top of the group.

They will face the Thais, who won Group A, at 4.17pm today, after the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens between England and Samoa.

Captain Daniel Marc Chow said: "We had a tough day and have prepared for this for quite some time, so we are really looking forward to it... hopefully with the home support, we can come out tops."

The men's developmental team, named the Singapore A team, was also in action, losing to Group A powerhouses Malaysia (12-21), Thailand (7-27) and the Philippines (5-38).

They eventually finished seventh out of eight teams after a 28-0 win over Indonesia in the play-off for the last two spots.

The women's team, who retained just two players from the SEA Games squad that won silver last year, did not have a smooth ride to the final, losing 5-29 to Thailand in their opener.

Undaunted, they then beat Laos 28-7 to finish runners-up in Group B, which meant they had to face Group A winners the Philippines in the semi-final.

Tries from centre Lai Pui San and scrum-half Eunice Chu earned them a 12-5 win and a berth in the final, where they face the Thais in a rematch of last year's SEA Games final, which Thailand won 39-0.

The game will kick off at 12.56pm today, after the match between England and Portugal.

Women's team coach Wang Shao Ing said: "I'm pleased we've come through the first day of the tournament... if the girls can keep their shape in attack, and keep to our defensive system, we've got a good chance of taking Thailand on."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore men and women advance to SEA 7s finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe