Singapore qualify for SEA 7s finals
There was double joy for hosts Singapore yesterday as both their men and women's rugby 7s teams progressed to the finals of the South East Asia 7s.
The men's team beat Philippines 17-5, overcame Brunei 17-5 and conquered Indonesia 48-0 to finish top of Group B at Yio Chu Kang stadium.
Singapore will meet Causeway rivals Malaysia in the final during the 2017 HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s in front of an expected 29,500 fans at the National Stadium today.
Malaysia booked their place in the final after crushing Singapore 'B' team 40-5 and shocked defending champions Thailand 24-0 to top Group A.
Singapore's men's captain Marah Ishraf is counting on home support to spur them on in today's final.
He said: "It is important to bring the form we showed in our last game (against Indonesia) to the final.
"We have a lot of young players playing at the National Stadium for the first time.
"Still, it is going to be an advantage playing on our home ground with a lot of people supporting us.
"It is important to remain composed and not succumb to pressure.
"Our team play best when we don't rush and panic."
In the women's competition, defending South-east Asia (SEA) Games champions Thailand emerged top of Group A after beating Malaysia 26-5 and crushing Laos 42-0.
In Group B, hosts Singapore eased past Laos 27-0 and thrashed Indonesia 32-0.
Thailand then dominated Philippines 34-0 in the first semi-final to set up a repeat of last year's final against Singapore, who beat Group A runners-up Malaysia 29-5 in the other semi-final.
The women's final will be played at 4.56pm and the men's final will take place at 5.16pm on Day One of the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French Rugby Federation at the Pan Pacific Singapore yesterday.
The two governing bodies will work together in talent development, technical assistance and sharing of expertise in the form of coaching, youth development, communications and match officiating.
"France is one of rugby's global superpowers and it's important for Singapore rugby to learn from the very best," said SRU president Low Teo Ping.
"The MOU between the two unions will allow us to share resources, but also allow Singapore players and officials to get practical experience in Europe."
World No. 6 France is bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. Both the Les Bleus' France 7s and BlitzBoks' South Africa 7s are competing in this weekend's HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s.