By: Rebecca Bisset
It’s that time of year when we get the top international rugby players on Singapore’s very own Padang for the The Societe Generale Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s (SCC 7s).
Rebecca Bisset talked to Ben Turner, SCC Member and Captain of the SCC 7s team, about the upcoming tournament, taking place from 30 October to 1 November.
Rugby 7s has been popular in the region for a long time, especially with the Hong Kong 7s being so famous (or should that be “infamous”?). Do you think it’s continuing to grow?
I think it’s definitely being taken more seriously globally with it being introduced into the Olympics and most recently when the US, a relative newcomer to the sport, burst into the limelight and became a global force. They won their first Rugby 7s World Series tournament in London earlier this year, with our star invitational player from SCC7s last year, Nate Augspurger, playing a pivotal role at the tournament. It’s great to see “second tier” rugby nations putting in the effort and funding to support the development of the game.”
This is your second year of playing on the SCC Team; what do you enjoy about it and what would you like to see develop with the Singapore 7s?
For me personally, it will be a great experience to play for the host team in a tournament in front of our own crowd again. The team is looking forward to getting to play amongst the international invitational teams from all over the rugby globe, and to have it all on our own pitch at the Padang. It’s definitely a highlight of the Singapore rugby calendar and the guys have been working hard in training to push these top-level teams hard and compete with the international class players who will be competing again this year.
It’s the largest ever field this time around, with 24 teams, two from Singapore. We’d love to see everyone get behind us local teams, weather you chose to wear the Black and Gold of the SCC (Singapore Cricket Club – home team, home ground!), or the Red of the Singapore national team (bronze medallists at this year’s SEA Games, and packed with local talent), or even a bit of both.
Which team or players should we look out for this year?
From the returning teams: Borneo Eagles are packed full of New Zealand-based players, coming back again to defend the trophy, the Penguins are a traditional British club, with several international club level 7s players and they’re also previous winners, French Academy always add a bit of “French flair” to the occasion, Saracens Impala are the Kenyan-based crowd favourites and the South African 7s squad visited before as a development squad and won in 2010, 2011 and 2012. This year they return as a full squad, and will be a team to watch for the finals.
And from those teams visiting for the first time; England Academy are bound to be packed full of young English 7s stars of the future and Tribe 7s are a newcomer on the international invitational 7s circuit, based in Australia, and also aiming to develop the Olympians of the future.
Anything that makes this year’s event different?
This year, we’re adapting the schedule to align with the Rugby World Cup on Saturday 31 October; 7s matches will start later in the day, and a big Rugby World Cup party will be open to the public on the Saturday night. There’ll be a big screen in the players’ hall, open to all the public, with a bar and food all evening. Come and enjoy the atmosphere, hang out with the players, and watch the game amongst fellow rugby fans from across the world. There will also be a band playing every night in the 7s village, which is covered this year so we can enjoy the weekend whatever the weather.
If you haven’t been there before – why should you go?
You get to see some great international level players from across the globe competing on the Padang, in the heart of our city, over three days, in a top-level sport that’s being introduced to the Olympics for the first time in Rio 2016. The tournament is family-friendly, with a dedicated kids’ area to keep everyone entertained between games – and make sure you keep an eye out to see if you get shown on the big screen.
What’s available on the F&B side of things?
A Guinness Bar at the City Hall end – the longest Guinness Bar in Southeast Asia, in fact, and another bar alongside the pitch. Plus you’ll find local and international food stalls, serving hot food all weekend.
What’s the seating capacity?
7,000 seats are available across three days, starting Friday 30 October at 5.30pm, so come after work! The tournament culminates with the finals on Sunday 1 November in the evening.
A final word?
This is the 68th edition of the 7s, being held at the oldest sporting club in Southeast Asia. Bring family and friends to come along to support your local boys, and enjoy the Singapore Cricket Club hospitality for a weekend of friendly fun.
* The tournament website has live updates and all the event info you need
* Tickets are available at sistic.com.sg – alternatively, you can pick up tickets at the door on the day
* Visit their Facebook page for even more up-to-date info
* For future events at the SCC, visit www.scc.org.sg