SINGAPORE, 15 April 2017 – Fiji, Australia and New Zealand cleared their pool matches with three wins out of three to advance to tomorrow’s knockout stages of the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s.
Defending Series champion Fiji finished top of Pool A after comfortable wins over Hong Kong (40-0), Russia (38-7) and Canada (35-7). England suffered a 14-24 loss to France in their opening match but bounced back with wins over Japan (40-10) and South Africa (17-12) to top Pool B. Australia claimed top spot in Pool C with wins over Samoa (19-12), Kenya (29-7) and Argentina (19-7), while New Zealand topped Pool D with wins over Scotland (22-21), Wales (36-14) and United States (21-14).
Sunday’s quarterfinal fixtures feature Fiji against United States, Australia faces Series leader South Africa, New Zealand is up against Canada, while England meets defending champion Kenya.
Meantime, Singapore delighted the home crowd when they beat Causeway rival Malaysia 19-7 in the men’s final of the Southeast Asia 7s (SEA 7s). The home team got off to a perfect start when they were awarded a penalty try in the first minute to lead 7-0. Malaysia hit back through a converted try by Wan Izzudin to even the scores 7-7 at half-time.
Early in the second half, Singapore captain Marah Ishraf delivered a beautiful looping cross-field kick over the Malaysia defence which winger Teng Chong Yao caught on the run to score his side’s second try. Ishraf himself converted for a 14-7 lead, before Matthias Chia scored a third try for Singapore a minute from the final whistle.
“There is always a lot of pride at stake when we play Malaysia and it was a hard final,” said Ishraf, 22. “In the second half, the second try was crucial and once we were in the lead, I told the boys to fight hard and keep possession of the ball. As long as we had the ball, it will be hard for our opponents to catch up. It's a good win for us today but the end goal is this August’s SEA Games. All the hard work we have put in will mean nothing, if we don’t do well in the SEA Games.”
Meantime, defending SEA Games champion Thailand successfully defended its SEA 7s crown by beating Singapore 34-0.
The first day of HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s saw entire families turning up in costumes and there were plenty of singing and dancing in the stands whenever the Dance Cam or the Muscle Cam was on the stadium jumbotron. Fans also rocked to performances by former Singapore Idol finalist Leandra Rasiah and a roving percussion band, performing the Kallang Wave and passing huge giant inflatable rugby ball around the stadium.
The second day of the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s continues tomorrow and the Schools Under 14 final between arch-rivals Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St. Andrew’s Secondary is among the fixtures. Tickets can be purchased online at www.singapore7s.sg