Saints make waves in U-14 final upset

St Andrew's Secondary School in buoyant spirits, having beaten defending champions ACS (I) 12-10 in the Schools Sevens Under-14 final.
St Andrew's Secondary School in buoyant spirits, having beaten defending champions ACS (I) 12-10 in the Schools Sevens Under-14 final.PHOTO: TAKUMI PHOTOGRAPHY

On a day when many of the Singapore Sevens favourites fell to unfancied rivals, St Andrew's Secondary School scored an upset of their own, by dethroning reigning champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) 12-10 in the Schools Sevens Under-14 final yesterday.

Saints coach Teng Chong Yao was impressed with the way his charges maintained their composure.

"I thought the boys were very disciplined in keeping to our game plan," he said. "They were nervous in the changing room, but they managed to get it out of their system and focus on what they need to do, which is to play their best."

When asked how it felt to play at the National Stadium for the first time, captain Lucius Yau, 14, shaking his head in a mixture of awe and disbelief, replied: "Wah, it feels good man. We were a bit nervous because the field is wider than usual and we weren't used to it, but we just wanted to win."

The fly-half's successful conversion in the second half of yesterday's match - after team-mate Lucky Castillo scored a try - proved to be the difference-maker.

Tries from Saints' Jabez Lim and ACS(I)'s Kaylen Chin tied the score at 5-5 at the interval.

After St Andrew's had regained the lead, ACS(I) replied through Cedric Teo's try but missed their kick as the Saints hung on to win.

ACS(I) won the first of the three-leg Schools 7s series, which featured 12 local schools, while St Andrew's won the next two.

ACS(I) captain Kenji Chng, 14, rued his team's "little slip-ups" that cost them the final, but said: "We played our hearts out and gave it our all today. I think the Saints really put up a big fight against us and they're definitely worthy opponents."

He added that the lessons learnt from yesterday's loss would spur on ACS(I) ahead of the Schools National C Division tournament. ACS(I) are defending champions.

The 15-a-side tournament starts later this year, and Saints coach Teng said his team still needed to work on their fitness but they are on the right track.

He added: "They've definitely improved since (the first leg of the Schools 7s series). Their never-say- die attitude and discipline today were what got us the win."

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'Saints make waves in U-14 final upset'. Print Edition | Subscribe