News

Pitch 'safe and suitable' for match

The sandy patches on the pitch at the new National Stadium drew criticism when it opened in June and hosted the Rugby World Club 10s in the same month.

It was also the reason Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri rested star striker Carlos Tevez as a precaution in their friendly match against a Singapore Selection team earlier this month.

Today, the inter-school C Division rugby finals between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St Andrew's Secondary School (SASS) will be held on the same pitch.

Will it pose risks for the C Division players, whose ages range between 12 and 14?

No, said Mrs Lucy Toh, the principal at SASS. The pitch has been inspected and found to be safe and suitable for rugby competitions, she said.

ACS (I)'s rugby coach Adrian Chongalso confirmed that the coaches' concerns were addressed before the match.

"All schools are quite happy to go ahead. If the rugby championships can take place there, surely it'll be okay (for the finals)," he said.

Mr Gregory Gillin, senior director of stadia, Singapore Sports Hub, told TNP that the school representatives were at the pitch with officials from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Rugby Union last week, and were satisfied that it was "100 per cent safe and would provide steady footing for their players, and therefore confirmed the matches would go ahead as planned".

Commenting on the state of the pitch earlier this month, Mr Gillin had said: "As with any new stadium, we expect teething problems as we continue to ramp up operations, and are concurrently evaluating what additional measures we need to implement to achieve an elite playing surface that meets the needs of our multi-purpose calendar."

DECIDED BY MOE

Mrs Toh, a national rugby convenor, said the match venue was decided by the MOE, with support from Sport Singapore and Sportshub Pte Ltd, which manages the venue.

It is unclear who is paying to rent the pitch.

She said: "The opportunity to play at the Sports Hub will provide student-athletes with first-hand experience at the new facility, and provide more spectatorship opportunities.

"MOE will continue to explore having selected National School Games competitions at the Sports Hub where feasible and practicable."