Come 10 June, the first-ever Test match in South East Asia between two Tier 1 rugby nations, will be taking place in Singapore. This match, to be held at the Singapore National Stadium, will be between Italy and Scotland.
A press conference had been recently held at the Ital Auto Ferrari Showroom to announce this piece of exciting rugby news.
Good base for Italy to prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Said Luigi Troiani, National Team Manager of the Italian National Team, “This is the first time we play against a Northern Hemisphere team in Asia. This is the first time too, that two Tier One teams are playing in a high level international game in Singapore. We played in Singapore before we go to Fiji and this is a good base for us to prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”
He added, “Next year we have a Tour in Japan so we might want another match in Singapore before that. Singapore has all the facilities to help us prepare for Japan.”
Italy designated as home team
Following a coin toss that had also taken place at the press conference, Italy had been designated as the home team for the match.
Said Troiani on the coin toss, “We are designed as the home team, so I am sure we all have lots of Italian supporters. We also have a lot of good players in our squad of 31, and this tour would be useful for them to prove themselves.”
Scotland is thrilled to be part of the historic match
And likewise, Scotland is also thrilled to be a part of the historic match. Said Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer, Scottish Rugby, “We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the first-ever Test match between two Tier One teams in Singapore. We love coming to Asia and part of your job is to grow the Scottish brand and the best way to do that is to bring the teams internationally.”
He added, “We are delighted that the World Cup is in Japan in 2019; we will be doing everything we can to ensure that our team is in the best possible shape for that World Cup. Our team is currently fifth in the world, our best-ever ranking, and when we come here, we hope to do our very best to win.”
Match to be part of Scotland’s Summer Tour
The match will be part of Scotland’s forthcoming summer tour, where they will face three opponents on consecutive Saturdays, beginning with the Singapore leg against Italy. Their other two games are against Australia in Sydney, and against Fiji in Suva.
Said Gregor Townsend, Head Coach, who takes over the reins of the national team in May, “Our players will relish the challenges presented by tough opposition, travel and climate in a concentrated and intense period of rugby. Touring builds strong bonds in a group and in addition to our preparation camp, this time together will be invaluable for our new coaching team as we strive to further improve the squad.”
Singapore is ready to host the match
This upcoming match is set to build on the Lion City’s success at hosting world class events such as the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Formula One Grand Prix, the Super Rugby side Sunwolves and Scotland’s visit to Asia to face Japan next year.
And Low Teo Ping, Chairman of Rugby Singapore, is confident that the Lion City is ready to host the match. Said Low, “We have been hosting Super Rugby matches, the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, so we are ready to host an event of this stature. This is the first time that two Six Nations teams are playing here and is an indication of what we can expect in the future. We are already in discussion for two great teams, one from Northern and one from Southern hemisphere, for a test match in Singapore at the end of the year.”
He added, “As we go into 2019 there will be more teams wanting to come through. Once international teams and players come here to play, Singapore gets more recognition and our stadium is now world renowned.”
All credits to photos in this post are to Singaporemaven.