Singapore Sevens will be even better next year: SRU chief Low
Rugby chief Low vows to build on success of Singapore Sevens
The dust is yet to fully settle at the National Stadium, but it is safe to say the 2016 HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens has been a resounding success.
There was plenty of scintillating rugby on offer, witnessed by just under 50,000 spectators over two days.
To cap it all off, it concluded with Kenya upsetting one of the pre-tournament favourites Fiji 30-7 in the final yesterday to claim their maiden World Rugby Sevens series title.
It may take a while before the Singapore Sevens matches the stature and glamour of the Hong Kong Sevens but, already, the future is looking bright after its nine-year hiatus.
The Singapore Sevens was last held in 2006 and, back then, drew daily crowds of about 16,000.
This year's edition, which is the eighth stop of the 16-nation rugby sevens tournament, welcomed more than 23,000 fans on each day of the weekend.
Apart from the action on the pitch, event organisers also provided plenty of entertainment for the fans off it.
From Friday to yesterday, a three-day music festival was held at Clarke Quay featuring resident bands and prominent local music acts, in line with the organisers' bid to create a carnival atmosphere for the event.
"It's been a long journey that was two years in the making… But I think we can say we've done it," said Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping yesterday.
"With 230 volunteers, great support from the government through Sport Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board, together with World Rugby, I think I can't ask for much more.
"The record fan turnout, not just from Singapore but around the region, definitely confirms that we must make sure we do an ever better job next year so that they keep coming back."
Guest of honour and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu gave the thumbs-up to the tournament.
"This is one of the first major events since last year's SEA (South-east Asia) Games and APG (Asean Para Games) and, seeing (nearly) 30,000 fans here, I think we've really embraced the tournament and the Sports Hub," said Ms Fu.
"I see young kids and entire families having a nice time together and I think this is what the Sports Hub can do for us.
"It's been a really world-class sporting event for the whole family, it's been great for the spectators and the players and I think it will inspire the next generation of rugby players in Singapore.
"I am most definitely looking forward to coming back next year."
Although most of the spectators showed up supporting the likes of New Zealand, Fiji or South Africa, Low believes Kenya's fairy-tale triumph made the tournament all the more special.
"Well, definitely," he replied, when asked by The New Paper if he believed the tournament delivered on the pitch.
"You get a team like Kenya, who were underdogs, and they've actually won here many, many years ago when they beat England.
"Speaking to the guys from Kenya, they feel Singapore is a special ground for them and I think it's great.
"For an upset like Kenya beating Fiji to happen, I think it's going to ensure this (the Singapore Sevens) is well remembered."
For an upset like Kenya beating Fiji to happen, I think it’s going to ensure this (the Singapore Sevens) is well remembered.
— Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping