Singapore rugby teens selected to train in NZ

Marcus Ng Weii (left) and Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor with former All Black Scott Waldrom after being selected from among 22 schoolboy rugby players for a two-week stint in Wellington.
Marcus Ng Weii (left) and Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor with former All Black Scott Waldrom after being selected from among 22 schoolboy rugby players for a two-week stint in Wellington.PHOTO: SINGAPORE RUGBY UNION

Budding local rugby players Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor and Marcus Ng Weii have been selected for a two-week training stint at Super Rugby side Wellington Hurricanes next year.

The duo stood out from 20 other schoolboys who took part in an intensive training camp under former New Zealand All Black Scott Waldrom over the weekend.

This was part of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens youth outreach programme, with all participants also earning a chance to watch the World Rugby Sevens tournament at the National Stadium from April 16-17 next year.

Solihin and Marcus - both aged 16 - will train with the Hurricanes' Under-16 team. The senior squad, which once included the late Jonah Lomu, now boasts five All Blacks from last month's Rugby World Cup-winning side.

Solihin, who plays at flanker, is hoping to meet his idol Julian Savea, the Hurricanes' star winger.

The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student said: "I never expected one day to have a chance to travel overseas to train in one of the top Super Rugby teams in the world.

"When I was nine, I started playing rugby for Chongzheng Primary in Tampines. Hopefully we can all play for Singapore national teams."

Marcus, meanwhile, has already featured for the national U-15 and U-16 teams as an outside centre. The teenager, who is awaiting his N-level results, said: "I was a lousy player when I started in Secondary 1 (at Montfort Secondary). I had no self-discipline. I've got to thank coach Keith Arriola for sorting me out.

"It will be my first time going to New Zealand and I heard it's going to be cold, muddy and windy, but I can't wait."

Waldrom, a former team-mate of Lomu, said the Singapore boys will compete in practice matches and also get to watch the senior stars in action. He added: "They will get to experience the intensity expected at their level and learn from different coaches at Hurricanes.

"Even top players like Savea came through the Hurricanes' U-16 set-up so it will be a great learning experience for them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2015, with the headline 'Singapore rugby teens selected to train in NZ'. Print Edition | Subscribe