Singapore positive about facing the Philippines
Singapore's rugby team confident of bouncing back against the Philippines
They lost their opening match, but there were plenty of positives for Singapore despite their heartbreaking 33-17 defeat by Sri Lanka in an Asian Rugby Championship Division 1 fixture last Sunday.
While the scoreline suggested that it was a comfortable victory for the Sri Lankans, it was anything but.
The Republic, who are ranked 59th - the lowest seeds in the tournament - held their own against their higher-ranked opponents (39th), even taking a 17-15 half-time lead.
Singapore captain and hooker, Gaspar Tan, wants his team to build on the encouraging display when they take on the Philippines at Kuala Lumpur's Royal Selangor Stadium today.
"Our morale is good going into the game. If we take the positives from the Sri Lanka game and maintain that level throughout for the full 80 minutes (against the Philippines) tomorrow, we can come away with a positive result," Tan told The New Paper.
The Filipinos, who are ranked five spots higher than Singapore, will enter the match as the favourites, having won their previous encounter 20-17 after double extra-time in the same tournament last May.
Singapore led 10-0 in that match.
Tan, however, insisted that past results don't matter and both teams will start on a clean slate today.
"Tomorrow's game can go both ways. It just depends on which team turns up and wants it more," said the 27-year-old.
"Given that we were supposed to be playing in Division 2 but got promoted to Division 1, we want to do our best and at least remain in the division."
The fatigue factor could come into play for the Singapore camp due to the congested fixture list, but Singapore coach Inoke Afeaki believes his charges are up to the task.
"All the teams (Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) are in the same situation.
"This is far from ideal, but we have made several alterations to our daily programme to maximise our active recovery and rest the boys' battered bodies.
"We have two competent physiotherapists working overtime to give the players the best advice and care.
"While it is not easy to take part in such a tough tournament with so many games in such a short period, we have to remain professional and perform well against the Philippines," said the former Tonga captain.
"We have done thorough analysis on our opponents and, more importantly, we have spent a lot of time analysing our own performances in a constructive manner.
"Hopefully, we can come away with a positive result tomorrow."
After today's game against Philippines, the Republic will take on Causeway rivals Malaysia in their final game of the tournament on Saturday week.
The competition winners have the chance to be move into the top-tier Tri-Nations Division, but promotion can only be attained by overcoming the bottom side of that division in a play-off.
If we take the positives from the Sri Lanka game and maintain that level throughout for the full 80 minutes (against the Philippines) tomorrow, we can come away with a positive result.
— National rugby captain Gaspar Tan