S'pore to 'rebuild' after rugby defeat

Singapore were relegated from the Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 yesterday after a 40-20 defeat by Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

The Republic are bottom of the group, which includes the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

But captain Gaspar Tan said the outing was still valuable. After all, Singapore, who were in Division 2, were invited to compete after Kazakhstan's late withdrawal last month. It meant the team had to cut short their preparation. Division 2 matches start this Wednesday.

Tan, a hooker, said: "I thought the experience for the team was a good one and the win against Philippines was a bonus and special."

World No. 58 Singapore scored an upset 28-24 win over the Philippines (49th). Their other match against world No. 37 Sri Lanka last Sunday ended in a 33-17 loss.

Reflecting on yesterday's loss, Tan said: "Against Malaysia, we started well but we missed the opportunity to put in more points just before the half. Also, we played too wide in the second half.

"We just have to rebuild from here... and come back stronger next year."

Singapore Rugby Union vice-president Jonathan Leow agreed. He said: "It's not all doom and gloom. We showed glimpses that we can compete at the top level."

Sri Lanka beat the Philippines 25-21 in the other match.

World No. 60 Malaysia top the group and but will not play-off against the bottom side in Tri-Nations division (Japan, Hong Kong or South Korea) as it declined to challenge for promotion.

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore to 'rebuild' after rugby defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe