Boost for U-14 rugby 7s
Singapore rugby fans are eagerly anticipating the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens on April 16 and 17, with world-class players such as World Cup winners Sonny Bill Williams and Bryan Habana due to weave magic at the National Stadium.
But, for St Andrew's Secondary School rugby player Mikail Yue, 14, the tournament will bring on extra significance.
The teenager may get to play at the National Stadium on April 17, in a new tournament called the World First Singapore Schools Sevens Under-14 Series Championship.
Mikail said: "It's not every day you get to play at a world-class venue in front of tens of thousands of local and overseas rugby fans.
"While the world's top players are playing in the 'Road to Rio' World Seven Series, it's cool we have our own 'Road to Kallang' series."
Twelve local and international schools with slug it out over three weekends - March 12, March 19 and April 2 - at the National University of Singapore Sports Stadium, with the top two teams after the three legs playing for the title at the National Stadium on April 17.
The Saints, whose Under-14 team won the Saints 7s and Singapore Schools 7s titles last year, will be among the contenders for that match at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Singapore Rugby Union's general manager, George Danapal, believes the fringe event of the Singapore Sevens would be beneficial to the players.
"We are delighted to have UK money-broker World First to sponsor the first-ever Singapore Schools 7s Series," he said.
"Having a 7s series in the first half of the year provides U-14 players with valuable game time and hence prepares them for the 15-a-side season in July.
"With three legs to play, players have the opportunity to garner more game-time exposure and work on their teamwork."
Students watching the competition can also look forward to activities in the Fun and Activity Zones, ranging from games to opportunities to dress up as their rugby heroes, as well as food and drink concessions.
Prices have also been made affordable for children up to 18 years, with prices ranging between $2 and $75, while two-day passes for adults are priced from $50 to $150.
All prices exclude booking fees.