The 67th edition of the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s hits the Padang from October 31 to November 2.
Last year’s thrilling final saw Daveta from Fiji (pictured) win their second straight Ablitt Cup, the winner’s trophy that is named after Bernard Ablitt, President of the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) from 1938 to 1939.
But what can we expect from the 2014 tournament? EX caught up with SCC rugby star Chris Harkins to find out more.
In a nutshell, what can fans expect from the rugby 7s?
World-class teams from around the globe and genuinely thrilling rugby. Sevens is an exciting brand of the game that delivers a fast paced and thrilling spectacle to the fans. The SCC event has a great reputation across the region as the premier club 7s competition.
Is it a real family day out?
Absolutely, as well as highly competitive rugby, there’s a really relaxed off-field atmosphere ideally suited to spectators, who will have the opportunity this year to participate in the Friday night activities which include a Halloween themed dress up party. The whole weekend is a great opportunity to bring the family down to one of the oldest clubs in Singapore and enjoy some cold drinks and good food while enjoying fast paced, exciting, and, at times, physical rugby battles.
Give us an idea of the teams involved?
We’ve got the likes of former champions, the Penguins (2010) from the UK, Daveta (2011 & 2012 winners) from Fiji, and Randwick (1993) from Australia. This year will also see the maiden campaigns for new teams like Grenoble University Rugby from France and the People’s Liberation Army from China. They will be joined by Singapore’s representatives, including Singapore Barbarians and the Singapore national team.
What’s it like playing against these international players?
It becomes a great test and you quickly learn an appreciation for rugby at the top level. One of the most noticeable differences is the speed and quality at which professional athletes can execute the most basic skills. European 7s teams often play a little more direct, with more physical contact trying to run over defenders rather than around. The Pacific Islander teams, and particularly those from Fiji, are undoubtedly the most exciting to watch.
What about the SCC’s chances?
The competition is tiered over the weekend after early pool games. Our goal is to reach the final of the Bowl Competition on the Sunday. To achieve this we will need to have 14 very well-prepared players in terms of conditioning, defence and game organisation.
Are you in better shape as a team than this time last year?
We have done a lot more preparation as a group this year and I would comfortably say we are in much better shape. It’s always exciting to test yourself against professional clubs and we hope to put all the hard work and training to good use throughout the weekend.
How healthy is the rugby scene in Singapore?
It’s constantly growing and this has been evident in my three years involved with rugby here. The introduction of the new stadium and an expanding local competition is gradually improving the ability and depth of rugby. It’s definitely an exciting time to be involved with rugby in Asia and in particular Singapore.
Are we seeing more interest among local Singaporeans?
Gradually interest looks to be growing. Better results from the national team, which is built on the foundation of local players, has probably gone a long way to help in this respect. The game does need more support though, especially from its local base. Those who don’t know anything about rugby should really take the opportunity to check out the SCC 7s – they won’t be disappointed.
For tickets go to ticketbooth.com.sg as well as TicketBooth outlets and all NTUC clubhouses. Single day ticket prices start from $15, and are tiered all the way up to a three-day weekend family package that costs $150. Head here for more information.