S’pore fall short at final hurdle

Singapore's Declan Martens (in white) attempts to stop his United Arab Emirates rival from scoring a try at the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy final yesterday at the Queenstown Stadium.
Singapore's Declan Martens (in white) attempts to stop his United Arab Emirates rival from scoring a try at the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy final yesterday at the Queenstown Stadium.ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN

UAE promoted to top-tier Asia Rugby Seven Series

ASIA RUGBY SEVENS TROPHY

FINAL

United Arab Emirates 14

Singapore 0


They huffed and puffed, and demonstrated great promise to win the tournament.

But against bigger and badder opponents, Singapore lost 14-0 to the United Arab Emirates in the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy final at Queenstown Stadium yesterday.

The result meant that the west Asian side will be promoted to the Asia Rugby Sevens Series at the expense of the Republic, who were relegated from that division in 2016.

On Saturday, Singapore swatted aside Bangladesh, Brunei and Pakistan before seeing off Kazakhstan 33-10 in yesterday's semi-final.

UAE hooker Kinivilame Natuna told The Straits Times: "We are really proud of this historic achievement and how we can give back to our country through rugby.

"Looking at how Singapore played throughout this tournament, we felt they were the better team, so we had to think out of the box and work on our breakdowns and defence."

They achieved those when they beat Thailand 26-0 in the semi-final before shutting out Singapore.

Natuna scored the UAE's first try in the fourth minute after a quick switch of play from right to left, before Vito Tuivione scrambled over three minutes later. Tuivione also made both conversions to give the visitors a comfortable lead.

Singapore showed good spirit in the second half but made poor decisions in the opponents' half.

Singapore coach Tom Browne said: "We are desperately disappointed by the result. We were physically intimidated and outplayed. We set our standards and target of winning this tournament and promotion and we did not step up.

"The UAE took the direct route. It did not surprise us but their style of play is not something we are used to and we need to improve on our decision-making under fatigue.

"We always felt that if we could have scored a try in the second half, we would be right back in it but such is the fine margin in sport.

"The Singapore Rugby Union and Sport Singapore have been really supportive of our programme.

"We have some really promising Under-20 players, and we will now regroup, continue to learn, develop and come back stronger."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2018, with the headline 'S’pore fall short at final hurdle'. Print Edition | Subscribe