With the new Singapore rugby season set to kick off this month, we asked the Bedok Kings to give us a crash course in “the game they play in heaven”.
Rugby in Singapore
“With the average temperature hovering around 30 degrees Celsius, and year-round stifling humidity, Singapore would not strike most people as having a climate conducive to playing rugby. Yet the city’s colonial past has left the sport firmly entrenched at school level; there is also a thriving club rugby scene on the island. Playing is not without its perils, though. Sunstroke is always a danger on hot days and the hard pitches tend to rip your skin off when it comes to rucks, mauls and tackles. But don’t let that put you off.”
“Games are split roughly between the 15-player and seven-player format. For those who don’t know, the 15-player format is the most common and the one you’ll see more often on television (like the recent Bledisloe Cup series between the All Blacks and the Wallabies). The seven-player format is a shorter, faster game that favours the more sprightly individuals among us. Both formats have the same basic rules and scoring.
Competitions are interspersed throughout the year with different age groups playing at different times. The main club season (15 a side) starts this month and continues through to the finals in March. Don’t miss the opening weekend of rugby action, on 20 and 21 November.”
“Bedok Kings RFC started life in 1996 with a Japanese core and a smattering of other nationalities. We are one of the four main clubs in Singapore and we aim to have a bigger local presence within the club than others.
That said, we have a large range of nationalities among our membership, ranging from Aussies and Kiwis to French and English – a healthy mix that you don’t often see in Singapore.”
Eye on the future
“Members of Bedok represent Singapore across all age groups, though over half the club’s playing squad is under the age of 21. We aim to provide a high standard of coaching so that youngsters who don’t have a comprehensive coaching set-up at school can move their game to the next level. The Singapore national team currently plays in Division 1 of the Asian Five Nations, with aspirations to reclaim its spot in the Top
Five (currently consisting of Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Hong Kong and the Arabian Gulf). The Asian Five Nations is played every year in spring.”
After the whistle
“Rugby aside, the club has a very strong social aspect, with the clubhouse very conveniently located in the Bungy Bar at Clarke Quay. Bedok also tours on a regular basis, the most recent venue being that hotbed of rugby, Phuket; a weekend in Cambodia is also on the radar. The Rugby Club is only one part of Bedok RFC, as we also have an active netball and cricket scene.
Whether you’ve played before and want to put on a pair of boots again, or you’ve never picked up a ball in your life, you’re more than welcome to come and play.”