Rugby Sevens: Singapore ready to take on Asia's best in Hong Kong

SINGAPORE - The national men's and women's rugby teams will kick off their Asia Rugby Sevens Series campaign this weekend in Hong Kong.

The men's team, who were bronze medallists at last year's SEA Games, have been drawn to face Asian powerhouses Japan, South Korea and China in the same pool.

Led by new captain Marah Ishraf, Singapore are hoping to improve on their seventh-placed finish last year.

The competition features a total of eight nations, and the Sept 2-3 Hong Kong stop is the first of three legs in the continental series. The other two legs will be held in South Korea (Sept 24-25) and in Sri Lanka (Oct 15-16).

The Republic's women are ranked sixth in Asia and they won the silver medal at last year's SEA Games.

Coached by Wang Shao Ing, they will take on Japan, Hong Kong and Guam in their pool matches.

Japan are the series' defending champions in both the men's and women's competitions.

Said George Danapal, general manager of Singapore Rugby Union: "We have seen younger players coming through to the national team from our Asean University Games squad and the Women's X-code programme.

"The Asia Rugby Sevens Series will provide quality playing experience for our athletes at the elite level. We hope these opportunities to play against the best of Asia will help prepare us for the 2017 SEA Games campaign."