Rugby: Sending-off costly as S'pore fall to late Hong Kong tries

Rugby: Sending-off costly as S'pore fall to late Hong Kong tries
Sidney Kumar (with ball) seen here being tackled by Alvin Chik (No. 16) and Rob Forrest from the Hong Kong team during the Asian Tri-Nations opener rugby match between Singapore and Hong Kong.

SINGAPORE - After more than 70 minutes of near-perfect rugby, one moment of madness cost Singapore victory in their Asian Tri-Nations opener against a Hong Kong selection side on Sunday.

Up by four points with five minutes to go at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium, the Reds' outside-centre Blandon Tan took the law into his own hands, slapping his opponent in an off-the-ball scuffle. The 23-year-old was sent off, and it proved a crucial turning point, sparking a late charge from the visitors.

They went on to bag two late tries for a flattering 35-25 win.

What would have been the Reds' biggest victory in recent times turned instead into one of their most painful defeats.

"The red card definitely had a big impact but we should have managed it better," said dejected Singapore captain Daniel Marc Chow.

"We lacked maturity in the final few minutes - everyone knows what they did wrong so there's some self-reflection to do in the next few days."

Tan, described by his team-mates as a quiet and respectful character, left the stadium soon after the final whistle.

Singapore coach Inoke Afeaki felt the dismissal - which created a gaping hole in the side's tiring defence - was harsh.

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