Singapore ruggers on course for a better placing

Singapore's Nicholas Yau (far left) in action against South Korea at the Hong Kong leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series. Singapore fell 0-46 in that pool match on Friday.
Singapore's Nicholas Yau (left) in action against South Korea at the Hong Kong leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series. Singapore fell 0-46 in that pool match on Friday. PHOTO: TAKUMI IMAGES

Singapore rugby's bid for improved rankings in Asia is on track, following their outing at the Sept 2-3 Hong Kong leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series.

The women's team won the Plate final against Sri Lanka 10-7 on Saturday, lying fifth overall in the eight-team standings. They posted a comprehensive 29-7 victory against Guam in the pool stage, after losses to eventual champions Japan (0-45) and Hong Kong (0-7).

In the Plate semi-finals, the women - who were sixth last year - beat Uzbekistan 27-0.

The men's team, who were grouped with continental bigwigs like South Korea, also made the Plate final but were beaten 7-0 by defending champions Japan.

It was their second loss to the Japanese at the Hong Kong Football Club, having been whitewashed 0-45 in the pool stage. The team also struggled against South Korea (0-46) and China (0-29).

Their only victory over two days was a 14-12 win over Malaysia in the Plate semi-finals, a creditable result considering the 12-man squad had lost three players to injury going into the second day of competition.

They lie sixth in the eight-team standings, on course for an improvement from their seventh-place finish last year. Hong Kong topped the standings after defeating Sri Lanka 22-17 in the Cup final.

Singapore's men and women won medals at last year's SEA Games (bronze and silver respectively) but feature new-look squads this time.

Said men's captain Marah Ishraf: "We played with great commitment and character throughout the tournament. Overall, it was a great tournament for us. There's still room for improvement and we're looking forward to the next leg."

Added George Danapal, the Singapore Rugby Union's general manager: "Both the men's and women's teams met their target... both teams are still works in progress."

The three-stop series moves to South Korea on Sept 24-25, before concluding in Sri Lanka on Oct 15-16. The total points accumulated through the three legs will determine Singapore's ranking in Asia.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore ruggers on course for a better placing'. Print Edition | Subscribe