Sevens Tag 7s to attract more school kids
Tag 7s programme aims to get more school kids playing the game
Rugby has already featured twice at the National Stadium this year.
Japan's new Super Rugby franchise the Hito-Com Sunwolves played two matches there last month.
While the national game, football, is not on the events calendar of the 55,000-capacity arena for 2016, rugby will continue to feature prominently at the stadium over the next couple of months.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will land at the Kallang facility on April 16 and 17.
In a unique move that will delight the fraternity, the World First Singapore Schools Under-14 Sevens Series final will be part of the programme on April 17, while the Sunwolves have one more match to go there on May 14.
The local game has never enjoyed featuring on such a stage for such a time span, and Rugby Singapore is doing all it can to ride on the momentum and grow interest in the grassroots.
In January, it launched the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens Tag 7s, an initiative that aims to introduce the sport in schools that do not currently have a rugby programme in their curriculum.
The programme is targeted at youngsters aged 8 to 18 and was on show yesterday at Anderson Primary School.
Around 20 youngsters turned up amd passed the ball around, went through drills and then enjoyed a game of Tag 7s, guided by former Singapore player Ong Kim Siang.
ROUGH BUT FUN
Speaking to The New Paper, 10-year-old Trevor Poh, who had never touched a rugby ball before, said: "The game is rough but that's what makes it fun."
"We've taken World Rugby's "Get into rugby program", which is a tag rugby programme, and we've modified it for the 7s," said Douglas Danapal (left), Rugby Singapore's commercial manager.
Rugby community outreach programmes like Pass It On, Heroes in the Making and Adopt A Country have already been launched and Danapal believes such moves will increase the popularity of the game, and the numbers playing the game.
"This year, our target for the Tag 7s programme is 20 schools and by the fourth year, we want to hit at least 100," he said.
Making the schools Under-14 sevens final a part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series here will bring further prominence to the sport.
Singapore Rugby expects a strong turnout of youngsters over the April weekend at the National Stadium and aim to ensure a Kid-Friendly experience at the arena.
There will be three zones catered to rugby fans on both days.
The Fun zone is a rugby carnival where participants are able to play games and win prizes as well as meet and greet with former players and legends.
The Kids' Drop-off zone is a place for toddlers, with exciting activities like face painting and balloon sculpting.
The Skills challenge zone will be targeted at people who have played rugby before and they will be able to take vertical jump tests as well as a Volvo scrummage challenge.
Stars Sonny Bill and Isles boost
Rugby fans in Singapore are eagerly waiting for the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens tournament at the National Stadium on April 16 and 17.
Their excitement will be heightened even further, after yesterday's announcement that All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams and the "fastest man in rugby", American Carlin Isles (right), will be part of their respective teams here.
Williams returns from injury to join fellow World Cup winner Liam Meesam as well as speed merchant Isaac Te Tamaki, who also recently returned from injury, to represent the All Blacks' 7s outfit in the Asian leg of the series in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Looking ahead to the tournament here, New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson said: "The 7s' circuit is pretty close these days, any team on their day can win a tournament.
"We've got to treat every game like a final. Hopefully we can have a good showing in Singapore. I'm sure we'll have a lot of support."
The Eagles Sevens will also welcome back influential players, with veterans Isles, Zack Test and Maka Unufe all out to impress.
- G. BUVANKUMAAR