S'pore eye promotion to Asia Rugby 7s Series

Good performances will not be good enough if Singapore cannot win the 12-team Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy at the Queenstown Stadium this weekend.

National coach Tom Browne told The Straits Times: "We will be judged on our ability to get promoted back into the Asia Rugby Sevens Series by winning the Trophy.

"So it will not just be about good performances for us. We were hurt and disgusted by our previous performances and we need to get back to where we belong.

"But we won't be taking anyone for granted because in the sevens format, any team that don't concentrate can be put to the sword.

"There are a few potential banana skins, but we are more concerned with our own patterns of play and processes we have to go through."

Today, Singapore are expected to progress from Pool C, which also includes Bangladesh, Brunei and Pakistan, to the Cup semi-finals tomorrow, when stronger foes such as Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan may await.

Skipper Marah Ishraf is confident that their preparations and the home crowd - admission is free - will help them bounce back into the Asia Rugby Sevens Series from which they were relegated in 2016.

Marah was part of that team and still remembers the disappointment vividly.

Singapore also failed to win promotion last year, when they lost 12-10 to eventual Trophy winners the Philippines in the semi-finals before finishing fourth.

He said: "Our goal is to put ourselves back in Asia's top eight.

"In the last two years, we have had many changes in... players and coaches. We have improved in terms of our understanding, both of the game and of each other.

"We have a wider range of traits and are a faster and more composed team now."

Browne also urged the team to give assistant coach John Brake the perfect send-off.

After a year here, the former England international will head back to be part of his home country's coaching set-up.

"We hope to celebrate John's farewell by winning this tournament and we have a very coachable, united and multi-dimensional team with the strength in depth to do just that," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore eye promotion to Asia Rugby 7s Series'. Subscribe