Borneo Eagles soar to win

Under the moonlit sky at the Padang, it was the Borneo Eagles who soared the highest to win the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) International Rugby Sevens.

The Malaysian invitational outfit beat debutants Yokohama Country and Athletic Club 33-26 in an enthralling final last night, capping off a stellar three-day outing.

They are the first Asian club to win the tournament since the Royal Hong Kong Police in 1987.

"All we wanted to do was get through the first two days - now that we won, we're looking forward to defending our title next year," said captain Edwin Cocker, breathless and beaming widely as he lifted the Ablitt Cup.

Consistent since their opening match on Friday, they brushed past opponents by moving the ball swiftly and surely across their pacy backs.

The Sabah-based team notched a whopping 72 points in three group wins, and also overcame last year's finalists, British side Penguins, 24-12 in the semi-finals.

It was a step too far for Yokohama, who nonetheless deserve credit for upsetting the likes of 2012 champions Daveta of Fiji and French powerhouses Stade Francais en route to the final.

Singapore's national team, meanwhile, were bruised and battered after a 0-45 humbling by the Swedish Vikings in the Plate quarter-finals.

But captain Derek Chan took plenty of positives as the squad ready themselves for the SEA Games on home soil next June. He said: "We faced a level of competition even greater than on the Asian sevens circuit.

"The boys got a good workout, we know there's things we need to work on but there was also encouraging signs from our combination play and understanding."

The Vikings went on win the Plate after a 19-0 whitewash of the NS Silverbacks. The Bowl went to Casuarina Cougars, who defeated hosts SCC 15-5.

The event, in its 67th year, drew a healthy and boisterous crowd of around 8,000 each day. The carnival atmosphere saw the adults in high spirits while children revelled in their own mini-rugby games.

SCC Sevens organising committee vice-chairman Jonathan Leow said: "It was great to see such a big and diverse turnout, which we will look to build on next year.

"We hope many new rugby fans were discovered in these few days."

This article was first published on Nov 03, 2014.
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