After three non-stop days of rugby action last weekend, England Academy have won their maiden Albitt Cup at the 69th edition of the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s (SCC 7s).
They had beaten Sunnybank of Australia by 40-12 in the final match, played yesterday, after having upset tournament favourites Daveta and Penguins International RFC in the tournament’s earlier quarter final and semi final rounds.
Potent display of skill, physicality and tactics
Through a potent display of skill, together with physicality and tactics, England Academy remained steady throughout the game, scoring a last-minute try to enter the half leading 21-14. They tightened their grip on the Cup in the second half of the final, outscoring Sunnybank 19-7 to cruise to a comfortable win.
Said Ethan Waddleton, 19, England Academy Captain, “It was a tough Final especially in the first half when the score was narrow. It’s always tough playing 5 games in this tournament and still have a 20-minute game at the end. The fitness helps, but we backed up our skills with good decisions and good defence too. In the second half we knew that we had a little engine on them, so it was about putting our finishing touches and getting tries, missing out on only one of the scoring opportunities.”
He continued, “At the half time break, we caught our breath and the coach got us into thinking what our jobs were and what we needed to do in the second half. Sunnybank scoring the first try was a shock; they went into breaking tackles and they were hard to get down in defence but the boys dug in and we showed that we could win it.”
Losing team captain is still proud of his team’s performance
Sunnybank captain, Alphonse Horomia, 24, is proud of his team mates’ performance though despite the defeat. He said “I am really proud of the team. We did well, going up against an academy team like England. It was neck and neck at the start of the finals but you could tell they had the edge. England played very smart and were changing it up on their play throughout. They had a lot of fast guys and we could not contain them at the end. We were starting to get tired as the game progressed.”
Cameron Cowell was Player of the Final
Awarded Player of the Final was England’s Cameron Cowell. Said the 20 year old, “It is unbelievable; I played in this tournament last year and it is one of my favourites. It was good to get a win. We have a really young side and even though I won the player of the final, this is down to the boys who created the space for me to go in and score. I am proud of the team because this is only the second time we had played together; our oldest player is 29 and our youngest, 18, so to get the win was incredible.”
Now the next goal of the England players, is to have a shot at the World Series tournament in Dubai. Said Waddleton “We are in the academy right now and the long term goal is to get into the Olympics team. At the moment however, we are focused on getting a shot in the team that will play at the World Series tournament in Dubai. England rugby is on the rise.”
Daveta clinches Shield Cup
Six time champions Daveta clinched the Shield Cup, winning against InterOil Turagu by 36-12.
SCC 7s Team wi the Ashforth Cup
Singapore Cricket Club’s Iewan Bartels was awarded the Ashforth Cup, which is given to the best player of the tournament. It was also a landmark day for the host team, as they won the plate for the first time in 20 years, beating NS Wanderers 26-14 in the process.
Singapore National Team reach their highest SCC 7s ranking ever
The Singapore National Team made it to the plate semi-final, beating Froggies Sevens Rugby Club by 7-0 in the quarter-final, but lost to NS Wanderers by a close 12-15 scoreline. But this marks their highest ever ranking at the SCC 7s.
Said Marah Ishraf, 22, Captain of the Singapore National Team, “This is our highest finish in the tournament. Last year we were knocked out of the Plate quarter-finals and we surpassed that this year. Our performance was not ideal though, we could have done better. I hope that we can continue to improve our play for the upcoming Asia Rugby 7s Developmental Series in February and the South East Asia Sevens.”
An amazing three days of action
Summing up on the action, Jonathan Leow, Co-Chairman of the SCC International Rugby 7s, said “It was an amazing three days of great world class rugby action at the Padang; we are glad that it turned out to be another successful edition. With a great mix of national and developmental teams and some of the best local rugby talent on display, it was an enjoyable weekend for the teams, as well as families and spectators. We can’t wait for the 70th edition in 2017.”