SINGAPORE - Singapore defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 30-13 in Dubai yesterday morning (Singapore time) to retain their Division 1 status in the Asian 5 Nations.
The Reds (above) drew first blood after 10 minutes with a try by Ed Carne.
The hosts replied with two tries before Singapore debutant, Luke McCabe, scored just before half-time for a 19-10 lead.
Singapore's superior fitness told in the second half. McCabe completed his hat-trick of tries and successful penalty kicks by Suhaimi Amran and Stuart Larkin sealed the game 30-13.
The victory meant that Singapore would remain in Division 1, just one rung below the premier level that features heavyweights Japan and Hong Kong, for next year.
"This campaign has been a success, thanks to sacrifices from everyone," said coach and Singapore Rugby Union technical director Inoke Afeaki.
"It was heartening to see the experience of veterans Jon Lee, Daniel Marc Chow, and Peter McFeely melding with the fresh talent in the side.
"The young guys really played out of their skin tonight and I'm proud of them."
Co-captain Muhd Zaki said that, despite the scoreline, UAE - a largely expatriate outfit who were relegated from the top tier last year - provided tough opposition.
"The game was very physical. UAE gave us a hard time at the breakdown, but we were resilient throughout the match," he said.
"The core group of our players have been playing together for some time, and that showed at crucial points of the game."
"Preparation for next year must start as soon as possible; we need to keep the momentum going for the team.
"I'm now looking forward to the Asian Tri-Nations (in August)".
Singapore earned promotion to Division 1 last June when they topped the second division by defeating India and Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.
Owing to a restructuring of the AFN series, the Reds play only one match this season, instead of a week-long tournament like in previous years
This article was published on April 25 in The New Paper.
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