Reiner Leong defies doc and makes rugby history

Reiner Leong defies doc and makes rugby history
Singapore's Reiner Leong scored a hat trick during the Asian Tri-Nations rugby against Chinese Taipei.

SINGAPORE - If Reiner Leong had heeded his doctor's advice, he would have missed out on making Singapore rugby history.

But the 27-year-old is a stubborn man, avoiding orders to rest and recover from tendinitis in both knees.

His reward? A sensational hat-trick that inspired Singapore to a 30-19 win over Chinese Taipei to end the Asian Tri-Nations tournament on a high.

He is believed to be the first Reds prop to score three tries in an international Test. Crucially, the result - in front of a 2,000-strong crowd at Yio Chu Kang Stadium - saw the hosts climb two spots to 56th in the world rankings.

"All credit to my team-mates - I only scored because of all their hard work in the build-up," said a gracious Leong.

A single glance at the bubbly music executive will tell you he is no ordinary prop. At 94kg, he is considered light for a position traditionally reserved for burly, surly grafters who willingly throw their bodies for tackles and tries.

But his relatively lean frame was put to good use against the Taiwanese, who were on the front foot for most of the first half after taking a 7-0 lead.

Coming on for the injured Erik Vis after 15 minutes, Leong finished off drives by the overpowering forward pack to slip through the visitors' shaky defence twice before the break and one more time after.

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