17th Sep 2013 -

THE Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s (“SCC 7s”) returns in 2013 with a star-studded line-up of 20 world-class teams and some of rugby’s biggest names, once again living up to its reputation as one of the premier club tournaments on the international rugby calendar. 

 

The 66th edition of the SCC 7s, which takes place from 1-3 November at the historic Padang, will feature teams from 11 countries, including Fiji’s Daveta, which has won the past two editions of the SCC 7s. The tournament will also showcase international superstars as it always has, with the likes of Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), Tana Umaga (New Zealand) and Cecil Afrika (South Africa) having previously graced the hallowed Padang turf.

 

2013 will be no different, with national development squads from France and Kenya joining first-time visitors, the famous Auckland Rugby Union, who have produced numerous All Blacks through the years. The Auckland squad were finalists in the inaugural World Club 7s, played just last month in England. The side will be led by Orene Ai’i, the former International Rugby Board (IRB) World Sevens Player of the Year with New Zealand, and could possibly include the newest signing for the Auckland Blues, Benji Marshall, who will cross over from being a star in Rugby League at the end of October. The prospect of both Ai’i and Marshall playing on the same pitch at the Padang is surely a mouth-watering one for rugby fans.

 

Recent New Zealand All Black Rene Ranger is also set to make an appearance with a determined Northland side, one of the top teams in New Zealand’s provincial competition. Ranger boasts an impressive resume, having represented New Zealand since 2010. In his second test match during the 2010 Tri-Nations, Ranger scored a try to help the All Blacks defeat South Africa 31-17 on home soil. The 26-year-old Ranger will attempt to reproduce those scoring feats for Northland, who will look to better their quarter-final performance last year.

 

“The SCC 7s is unique in that professional players from the top clubs in the world get to play on the same stage as semi-professionals and serious amateur players,” said Marc Lansonneur, Chairman of the SCC 7s organising committee. “We are excited to welcome all these teams, old friends and new ones, to this great tournament.”

 

Daveta, which draws its players largely from the Fijian national team, will attempt to complete a hat-trick of SCC 7s titles. Last year’s thrilling final saw Daveta win its second straight Ablitt Cup, the winner’s trophy that is named after Mr. Bernard Ablitt, President of the Singapore Cricket Club from 1938-1939.

 

Daveta is one of a select few clubs that have entertained local fans with beautiful attacking rugby for the past 20 years or more. Other long-time stalwarts include Australia’s Palmyra and Casuarina Cougars, who have not missed a trip to the SCC 7s in the past 30 years.

 

Singapore will be represented by the host The Singapore Cricket Club, which will feature national stars Mohammad Suhaimi bin Amran, Bryan Ng and Kevin Loo. The trio recently helped Singapore defeat Chinese Taipei in the Asian Tri Nations tournament in August in the Reds’ first test match on home soil since 2010. In June, they helped the Republic edge Causeway rivals Malaysia 20-17 to clinch the Division 2 championship in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations and earn promotion to the tournament’s prestigious Division 1 for 2014.

 

Hairul Naim, who has been a mainstay with both Singapore’s national 7s team and the SCC squad, is set to compete in his 12th successive edition of the SCC 7s.  

 

“I’ve had the privilege of playing in a number of IRB Sevens tournaments, and the SCC 7s is still my favorite,” said the banking professional. “This is where the best of the best come together on my home pitch. I’m definitely excited!”

 

SCC 7s Team Line-up (subject to change)

(in alphabetical order by country)

1. Casuarina Cougars      AUSTRALIA

2. Cottesloe                  AUSTRALIA

3. East Arnhem              AUSTRALIA

4. NS. Silverbacks          AUSTRALIA

5. Palmyra                    AUSTRALIA

6. Randwick                   AUSTRALIA

7. Sunnybank                 AUSTRALIA

8. Penguins                    ENGLAND

9. Daveta                      FIJI

10. France Development   FRANCE

11. French Pyrenees        FRANCE

12. HK Barbarians           HONG KONG

13. Kenya Impala           KENYA

14. Borneo Eagles          MALAYSIA

15. NA Wanderers         MALAYSIA

16. Auckland                 NEW ZEALAND

17. Northland                NEW ZEALAND

18. SCC                       SINGAPORE

19. Western Province     SOUTH AFRICA

20. Gymkhana             SRI LANKA

Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketbooth.com.sg with early bird specials available until 14 October.