Rugby: Dragons on a winning mission

Rugby: Dragons on a winning mission

They may be making their first appearance at the 66th Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens Tournament (SCC 7s) this weekend at the Padang.

But the Asia-Pacific Dragons will be looking to make an immediate impact on the three-day tournament starting on Friday by wresting the Ablitt Cup from defending champions Daveta.

The Hong Kong-based Dragons are an invitational side, featuring some of the best players and coaches from Asia and the Pacific.

"Our goal for this team is to enjoy ourselves and win the tournament," said Fiji international and Dragons co-captain Rupeni Caucaunibuca.

Fellow co-captain Pio Tuwai added: "This is our first time competing in Singapore, but 7s isn't new for us and we came here with the purpose of winning this tournament.

"I know that Daveta won this tournament last year, so I expect to play them in the final.

"I am confident that we can beat them."

While the Dragons, who will also have 2010 IRB Sevens Player of the Year Mikaele Pesamino from Samoa in their ranks, are aiming high, local side SCC have a more modest target of a top-16 finish out of 20 teams to compete for the Plate.

Last year, SCC finished as Plate semi-finalists, placing them in the top 12.

Captain Simon Etheredge said: "Qualifying for the top 16 has always been our goal... because a lot of these teams are semi-professional or professional athletes.

"We train as hard as we can, but we're dictated by our work and family commitments, so we're hoping to do as well as we can and make everyone proud of us."

STAYING PUT

While it is one of the oldest and most renowned rugby club tournaments in Asia, the SCC 7s will not leave its traditional Padang home, even with the Singapore Sports Hub opening next year.

Organising committee chairman Marc Lansonneur said: "It will be tempting (to move to the Sports Hub), but the true spirit of the SCC 7s is with the Singapore Cricket Club.

"The mix of the tradition and modernity here, the Padang and the club are all part of the tournament.

"If we move the tournament somewhere else, it will be different.

"We need to grow, but we also need to keep the human side of the tournament."

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