Rugby: Singapore stun Philippines 28-24 in Asia Championship Division 1 game

SINGAPORE - The national men's rugby team upset the Philippines in their second match at the Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 on Wednesday.

The Republic's men, ranked 59th, beat the world No. 49s 28-24 in a topsy-turvy match at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore were immediately put on the back foot, as the Filipinos took the lead in the 17th minute courtesy of a try by burly prop Erik Erikson.

But the Singaporeans responded quickly in the 22nd minute, when lock Warren John Drennan Ansell scored a try and a successful conversion from Michael Richard Patterson subsequently gave them the lead.

Constant pressure applied by the Philippines deep inside Singapore's half paid off as they reclaimed the advantage in the 34th minute when a scrum released fly-half Oliver Saunders to break through for his second try of the competition. The Philippines led 12-10 at the break.

While Patterson's penalty kick put Singapore in front again in the 42nd minute, the Philippines responded six minutes later with a try by centre Justin Coveney to go up 17-13.

Undaunted by the setback, Ansell replied with a try to give Singapore a slender 18-17 lead with 20 minutes left.

Even though flanker Derrick Broussard scored a try to edge the Philippines ahead in the 69th minute, Singapore scored a converted try in the 77th minute to close out the victory.

Despite the win, Singapore remain bottom of the four-team standings with four points from two games and they play 60th-ranked Malaysia in their final match on Saturday.

The Philippines top the table with six points, level on points with Malaysia, who thrashed Sri Lanka 42-17 in the other match played yesterday. Sri Lanka are third with five points.

The Division 1 competition features four nations (Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia) in a round-robin format competition. Originally relegated last year, Singapore's participation was only made possible following Kazakhstan's late withdrawal from the competition.

The winning team will get a shot at promotion to the top-tier Tri-Nations division, via a play-off against the bottom-placed team of that competition featuring the top three Asian countries - Japan (ranked 10th), Hong Kong (25th) and South Korea (26th).