SRU to push for more top events

Singapore fans will get to see more established stars in action here, with the Rugby World Club 10s competition looking set to kick-start a series of game-related events at the new National Stadium.

Expressing his delight at hosting the June 21-22 tournament during an official draw yesterday, Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) chief Low Teo Ping said: "We hope it is a precursor to other rugby activities to grow the sport in Singapore."

Among SRU's aims are hosting the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament and one of the 12 legs of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series.

Low added that the SRU was also working on "putting together events like Tri-Nations and Causeway Challenge".

Such events hold added significance for the growth of rugby other than garnering exposure.

"It is an event strategy to grow the sport. By being involved in events, we can generate revenue streams to support development funds to grow sport," said Low, who wants to promote Singapore as a rugby-playing nation and a place for people to watch matches.

Singapore last hosted a leg of the IRB Sevens World Series in 2006.

In the past few years, fans have got their fix of international club rugby at the annual Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) Sevens.

Jon Phelps, managing director of World Club 10s organiser Carinat Sports Marketing, said over 10,000 tickets had been sold or distributed, with the number expected to grow.

The National Stadium has a capacity of 55,000.

"It is a first-year event and we have nothing to benchmark against.

"There is a good (rugby) community here, we know people will come to watch it and we won't be disappointed by the crowd," he added.

Plans to expand the pool of professional teams for next year's edition are being looked at.

However, Phelps pointed out a need to strike a balance between showcasing professional teams and having satellite events to promote rugby.

One team featuring at the tournament might soon become a familiar sight here.

Asia Pacific Dragons, owned by Carinat, have been negotiating to secure a place in Super Rugby - the largest professional competition in the Southern Hemisphere.

Should the bid be successful, they are likely to set up base at the National Stadium, a prospect which Low is looking forward to. "Having Asia Pacific Dragons based in Singapore will help to create a vibrant environment where top-class players conduct clinics and coaching," he added.

World Club 10s

The draw

Pool A

The Blues (New Zealand)

London Welsh (Britain)

Samoa Water President's 10 (Samoa)

Biarritz Olympique (France)

Pool B

Brumbies (Australia)

Cardiff Blues (Britain)

Asia Pacific Dragons (Asia)

Petrarca Rugby (Italy)

This article was first published on June 12, 2014.
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