Concentration had been etched firmly in 30-year-old Leu Wei Liang’s face as he and his friend continuously passed the ball back and forth to each other. For a full minute, neither of them dared to be the one to slip up, even when a microphone was thrust into their faces and questions had been directed at them.
And after the minute had ended, Leu and his friend had successfully exchanged 45 rugby passes – and won for themselves, a bucket of beer.
A rugby roadshow to promote HSBC World Rugby Singapore 7s
This interesting “passing challenge” game had taken place at a rugby roadshow, which was held at Fountain Square, Clarke Quay, over the past couple of days – to promote the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens, which takes place on 16 and 17 April this year.
Said Leu, who works as a buyer in the electronics industry, “This roadshow was good to create awareness of rugby in general in Singapore. Unlike soccer, rugby is not a mainstream sport here, so having such a roadshow definitely helps Singaporeans, me included, to feel excited that world class rugby action will be coming soon to Singapore.”
Leu himself is looking particularly forward to catching the All Blacks (winner of the 2015 15-a-side Rugby World Cup) in action. He said, “I saw New Zealand in action during last year’s 15-a-side Rugby World Cup and they were impressive. As well, it would also be great to see their famous haka being performed in the flesh.”
Lots of games and other carnival activities
Besides the “Passing challenge”, there had also been plenty of other games being played at the roadshow, which had included “Guess the number of balls in the Volvo XC60 car” and the answering of interesting quiz questions about the World Rugby 7s and the nationalities of star players such as England’s Tom Mitchell and New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams.
Prizes for the games and quizzes, had included special 7s souvenirs as well as food & dining vouchers from the participating eateries at Clarke Quay.
Said Tom Warren, a British expatriate, “My family love rugby and we are happy to learn that Singapore will be hosting the 7s. If this carnival is a preview of what’s to come, then we can expect fantastic rugby celebrations come April.”
Ex-National rugby player made an appearance
Besides the entertainment at the roadshow, an ex-national rugby player for Singapore, Marah Fahmy, had also made a special appearance at Clarke Quay. To Fahmy, the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens marks an interesting time in the Singapore rugby scene and he is particularly looking forward to it.
Said Fahmy, 28, “This is a very exciting moment in rugby here. You know, in 7s rugby, the players travel all around the world and now Singapore has actually become one of their designated destinations.”
He added, “Usually it is so expensive to pay for air tickets and accommodation to watch these players ply their trade in places such as London or Dubai – but now that the players will be at our doorstep, all we need to pay for is the event ticket, which makes it so much more affordable for everyone here.”
Response from Singaporeans is encouraging
Indeed and the response from Singaporeans towards the tournament so far, has been encouraging in the months since tickets went on sale.
Said Low Teo Ping, 71, President of the Singapore Rugby Union, “A lot of Singaporeans have already bought their tickets and come forward, and more will be purchasing tickets as the event draws nearer. What is really good about this event is that it is being played at the National Stadium which is covered so regardless of the weather, the rugby will still be taking place.”
He added, “We hope that events such as this, will help to further build up the awareness of rugby in Singapore. We also intend this as a chance to move the rugby scene in Singapore to the next level, for our local teams to experience the highest level of rugby in the world and to instil in them the desire to emulate their rugby heroes.”
Rugby scene is growing quickly in Singapore
And Low hopes that after word gets out there from the inaugural event this year, then more people will get hooked onto the rugby experience for HSBC 7s tournaments in future years.
Said Low, “Despite the encouraging response so far, we feel that rugby in Singapore is still in its infancy but is growing quickly. So hopefully after this year’s tournament, word gets around as people would have experienced going to the stadium to watch rugby and having the chance to be a part of the music, carnival and festivities post-match. So they may not only come again in future years but also to bring their friends with them. Hopefully this will grow the rugby base over the next few years.”
He continued, “Rugby is a sport that should really find traction because it does build character – it is quite different to some other team sports because communication and understanding is really required in working together. Soccer may still continue to be the national sport for Singaporeans, and I don’t see rugby overtaking soccer – but frankly speaking, I don’t think you can have the ferocity and entertainment value equivalent of 7s rugby – being matched in soccer.”
Where to buy tickets for the rugby 7s
Have not bought your tickets yet for the HSBC World Rugby Singapore 7s?
Tickets are available at www.singapore7s.sg and prices range from SGD50 to SGD150 – excluding booking fees.
Ticket holders can also look forward to exciting privileges and benefits at partner outlets across Singapore.
Click here for former player Marah Fahmy’s take on the HSBC World Singapore Rugby 7s.