S'pore teams want another crack at SEA 7s final

Nothing short of a top-two finish at the South-east Asia (SEA) 7s tournament, which starts today, will do for Singapore's men's and women's rugby teams.

Both reached the final at last year's inaugural edition before losing to Thailand and the respective national captains acknowledged the importance of a strong showing again in the lead-up to the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.

While only five from the 24-strong women's training team were part of the 2015 Games, this year's SEA 7s squad has largely remained the same as last year's.

Captain Alvinia Ow Yong said: "We've put in some hard work over the past few months... We know what we need to do and it's just about executing it on the field."

She and her team-mates were fifth among eight countries at the Asia Rugby Sevens Series last October, an improvement from their sixth-place finish the previous year.

Coach Wang Shao-Ing added: "Coming through all three legs of last year's Asian sevens series with the results they did, the girls definitely gained a better understanding of the game and the team's synergy is very positive."

Singapore will field two men's teams in the two-day competition that features teams from Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Today's group games are at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium and tomorrow's finals will be at the National Stadium during the opening day of the Singapore Sevens.

Men's captain Marah Ishraf said: "Our preparations have been good and I think both (men's) teams will give a good fight in trying to reach the final.

"The SEA 7s tournament is where we test ourselves - to put into practice what we learned at training, and to see where we stand among our South-east Asian opponents.

"But we'll focus more on our own preparation."

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore teams want another crack at SEA 7s final'. Print Edition | Subscribe