RI all out to end ACS(I)'s Div A rugby stranglehold
Revenge will be on the minds of the Raffles Institution (RI) players when they trot out onto the field to take on Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the National Schools boys' A Division rugby final at the National Stadium today.
The scars from last year's 36-3 final defeat have yet to fully heal, and the wounds from a 33-7 loss to the same opponents in a round-one match of this season's competition are still raw.
They will also need no better motivation than the prospect of stopping their arch-rivals from clinching a fourth consecutive crown.
RI coach Mark Lee vowed to go into the match with all guns blazing, in what is the first time an A division rugby final is held at the National Stadium.
The 39-year-old said: "Of course there's desire to win over ACS(I), we're here to compete.
"They play a good high-tempo game and maintain possession.
"We need to be patient, composed and precise in the final."
The Rafflesians' last A division title came in 2010 against none other than ACS(I), in a 11-3 triumph.
Lee believes that teamwork will be the key to an upset against the overwhelming favourites.
He said: "To me, the key players are not only the first 15, but also the reserves.
"It's crucial that the subs come in and make the right impact.
"If there are opportunities to score, they have to take them. It's a final. My team don't have any superstars."
ACS(I) coach Adrian Chong is well aware of RI's quality, and vowed that his team will not be taking the match lightly.
Insisting that his side will continue to focus on their own defence, the 50-year-old said: "As a team, Raffles play really well. I don't think Raffles have only one talisman.
"I don't think the results prior to this final between the teams will affect anything.
"They are a team who are quite dangerous on the break.
"We have to minimise as much possession as possible.
"We will defend hard and disrupt their momentum."
The clash between RI and ACS(I) at 5pm will serve as a curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby 2017 encounter between the Sunwolves and the Sharks.