Sri Lanka too good for Singapore
ASIAN RUGBY C'SHIP DIVISION 1
SRI LANKA 33
After 40 minutes, the Singapore rugby union team went into the interval at Kuala Lumpur's Royal Selangor Stadium thinking of victory.
For everything that their higher-ranked, world No. 39 opponents Sri Lanka threw at them, the Republic had a reply.
Indeed, the world No. 59 - the lowest-ranked team in the Asian Rugby Championship's Division 1 matches, which go on until Saturday - even had the temerity to take a 17-15 half-time lead.
They scored through a penalty from fly-half Michael Patterson, which was followed by tries from left winger Jay-Hykel Jailani and No. 8 Peter McFeely.
However, Sri Lanka were different beasts in the second half. Not only did they prevent Singapore from scoring, they also posted 18 points to turn the game around and win 33-17.
Singapore captain and hooker Gaspar Tan said: "We showed good character to get back into the game even though our opponents scored first.
"Sri Lanka are a speedy team who are always looking to play out wide and we contained them well in the first half.
"It's always disappointing to lose, but we will learn from this, work more on our defence and come back stronger."
Singapore had competed in Division 1 last year, but finished last and were supposed to be relegated to play in Division 2 this year.
However, Kazakhstan's withdrawal handed them a reprieve and they were invited to play in Division 1 again.
After yesterday's loss, they will next take on world No. 54 Philippines on Wednesday before a Causeway Derby against their world No. 58 hosts Malaysia on Saturday.
Following their encouraging first-half performance, Tan felt his side have every reason to be positive and confident about beating the Filipinos, who had won their previous encounter 20-17 after double extra time, in a match which Singapore squandered a 10-0 lead.
The 27-year-old said: "We have shown what we are capable of and I'm sure the other teams would have taken notice.
"The Philippines are a more physical team who are bigger than us, but we don't see ourselves as underdogs because we know it is going to be close.
"We will regroup, refocus, build on what was positive from today, and bring our A game to the pitch on Wednesday."
In yesterday's other match, the Philippines beat Malaysia 15-10.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, but we will learn from this, work more on our defence and come back stronger.”
— Singapore captain Gaspar Tan