Rugby: Late collapse denies Singapore's victory

Rugby: Late collapse denies Singapore's victory
Asian Tri-Nations match between Singapore and Hong Kong at Yio Chu Kang Stadium.

SINGAPORE - Five minutes.

That was all that stood between Singapore and a credible victory over a developmental - but still sturdy - Hong Kong "A" selection in the opening fixture of the Asian Tri-Nations tournament.

A combination of quick thinking and good kicking saw the Republic carve out a four-point lead with just five minutes remaining in a see-saw game at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday.

Then Singapore somehow conspired to throw it away.

In the final frantic moments, they cheaply conceded possession and with it, two tries.

The scoreboard registered a 35-25 defeat at the end, a capitulation for which they have no one but themselves to blame.

"It was poor decision-making," said scrum-half Suhaimi Amran, through pursed lips.

He played a key role in two of the three tries on the day, and put a further 10 points on the board with his right boot.

But that was before he had to be helped off the pitch with an ice-pack strapped to his calf, as he shook his head in disbelief.

It was the same conclusion reached by team captain Daniel Marc Chow.

He insisted that the loss was neither due to a lack of fitness, nor the direct result of the sending off of outside centre Blandon Tan - for allegedly swinging his arm at a opponent in retaliation - eight minutes before the end.

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