Singapore rugby wants a solid development programme with Japan's Sunwolves
SRU aims to initiate more intensive programmes with Japan's Sunwolves
Super Rugby outfit Hito-Com Sunwolves' presence here has given local rugby a boost, but the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) says there is more to come from the collaboration with the Japanese franchise.
"We want to see a longer term plan ever since we agreed to work with the JRFU (Japan Rugby Football Union) to bring the Sunwolves to Singapore," said SRU vice-president Jonathan Leow.
"Mark Hammett, the (Sunwolves) head coach was very clear about what we wanted to set up from day one, and there was a whole list of things that they wanted to cover.
"So, it's been a very fruitful start to the relationship, but we want to go deeper and look at how we can expand it, especially from an administration, referee and player point-of-view."
In a five-year deal with the SRU, the Sunwolves will play three Super Rugby - the top club competition in the world - matches at the National Stadium, starting in their rookie season this year.
The first was on March 12 against South Africa's Cheetahs, which the "home" side lost 32-31.
The Sunwolves will play their second Super Rugby match at the National Stadium on Saturday against the Bulls, another club from South Africa.
The Sunwolves coaching staff will work with the Singapore national team on Friday before they conduct another clinic with about 10 national coaches on Saturday, and Leow said such tie-ups are just the tip of the iceberg.
"Clinics and sessions are very one-off in a sense, so we want to make sure that there is a curriculum built into it as well," he said.
"We sent two of our boys last year to Japan as part of a long-term strategy to ensure that there is greater relationship and greater opportunities at every level."
SRU general manager George Danapal said: "We are slowly ticking off one by one what needs to be achieved. There's still a bit of a list to go on with but we should be getting there.
"By the time the Sunwolves come around next year, we should be ready with all the items on the list."
With the HSBC Sevens World Series still to come next month, Danapal is not ruling out hosting other marquee names.
"(Organising such tournaments) also helps us to understand the logistics and administration of professional sport," he said.
"It will hold us in good stead if, for example, we are able to bring a national team over for a Test match. That would probably be the next step we want to look at from a viewership point."