Rugby, along with the other popular sports such as football, basketball and cricket, is one of Singapore’s most played full-contact games. With the game originating in England and Singapore once under the British government, it is not a surprise that rugby has become one of the sports commonly played in the county.
A game played with two opposing teams of 15 players and 7 reserves, rugby, as with any other sport, is concluded and won by the team with most points. Although these have been changed over the years, its general pointing system is as follows:
- Try. Scored via grounding the ball in the in-goal area and usually worth 5 points.
- Conversion Kick. Subsequently scored after a “try” and usually worth 2 points.
- Penalty Kick. Or commonly known as “drop goal” is worth 3 points each.
Currently ranked 66th in the world and 11th in Asia, rugby in Singapore has enjoyed significant growth in popularity and interest among its locals with 15 formally organised rugby teams.
Historically, the game was introduced by the British in the late 19th century, continuing its presence in the country at the beginning of the 20th century after the Malaya Cup – a game between the Singapore and Malaysia’s national teams. The Malaya Cup is considered one of the world’s oldest rugby competitions.
It is said that there are over 12,000 people who play rugby in Singapore professionally, with roughly 2,000 of which are women. There are also three recognized divisions in this popular game namely – the Premiership, the Championship and the Conference. Some of Singapore’s notable rugby players are Billy King, Rong Jing Xiang, Jon Lee and Ben Wheeler.
In Asia, the Asian Rugby Football Union is the official governing body where Singapore is part of. The governing body was established in 1968 with eight charter unions. Today, the Asian Rugby Football Union is composed of 27 countries – 15 of which, Singapore included, are full members, 7 are associate members and 5 are not affiliated, but are competing.
The coming 2019 Rugby World Cup is another milestone that Singapore is taking as it will be co-hosting a number of its matches. The Cup will be hosted by Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. The Singapore Sports Hub is the primary host of the matches to be held in the country, with a capacity of 50,000 rugby fans and national teams’ supporters. As with Singapore, Hong Kong will be hosting the matches with one venue while Japan, being the main host country, will be hosting the matches with nine venues.
Feature Image Source: Éamonn Ó Muirí @ Flickr