Singapore fall to Kazakhstan in Asian 5 Nations rugby

By |2009-05-12T15:43:31+00:00May 9th, 2009|Front Page News, Nation in Motion, rugby|15 Comments
Views: 4,397

Story by Les Tan/Red Sports. Pictures by Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports, Vanessa Lim/Red Sports and reader Ben Goh.

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan player grabs possession of the ball at the line-out. (Photo 1 © Ben Goh)

Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Saturday, May 9, 2009 – Singapore fell 19-22 to Kazakhstan at home in their second game of the Asian 5 Nations. This was the second loss for the Singapore ruggers after their 0-65 defeat away to Korea.

Singapore almost pulled off an historic first win on the back of some good penalty kicking by John Forrester (#10) who successfully converted four out seven penalties.

A captain Ben Wheeler (#8) try in the first half and a successful conversion by Forrester had tied it up 7-7 in the first half for Singapore after Kazakhstan's Antonov Evgeny (#16) had scored a try early in the game. However, Lefontov Maxim (#15) made good on a penalty attempt to ensure Kazakhstan walked off leading 10-7 at half-time.

Singapore staged a revival in the opening stage of the second half on the back of two successful Forrester penalties. The second gave Singapore a brief 13-10 lead and hopes were raised in the stands.

However, mistakes by Singapore allowed Kazakhstan to reassert their lead when Abdrazakov Ildar broke through and dished off a pass to Cherkashin Denis to score right under the post. A successful conversion gave Kazakhstan a 17-13 lead.

Singapore kept at it and a promising attack by Singapore ended when a stiff Kazakhstan tackle saw James Valintine (#7) cough up the ball 10m from the try line. Moments later, a field goal attempt just at the 22m line by Mohd Ismail (#12) flew wide of the upright.

Another successful penalty by Forrester hauled Singapore to within a point at 16-17 and the crowd got even more excited when Forrester nailed another penalty to give his team a 19-17 lead.

With less than 10 minutes to go, a rearguard action by the Singapore team stopped Kazakhstan three times just at the try line but Guselnikov Oleg (#9) got through on the fourth time of asking.

Maxim failed to convert for Kazakhstan and Singapore now trailed only by three at 19-22 and the game was now set for a grandstand finish.

With Singapore unable to get any joy from their passing game, it fell again on the shoulders of Forrester when they earned another penalty. Opting to kick, Forrester's attempt went awry as his body cramped up on him.

A yellow card for Ildar saw him going to the sin bin to join Zakharov Alexandr (#13) and that meant Kazakhstan were playing with only 13 men for the closing stages of the game. But try as they might, Singapore could not pull off a win.

"We were not clinical enough," said Singapore's Desmond Wee (#11) after the game. "We were not executing the simple, basic stuff. The close result shows we are getting there."

On his own performance, he said: "I could have done better. I should've been on the money."

A banged up John Forrester reflected on his performance.

"Apart from the first two kicks which I missed, I was happy with it. I got into the rhythm. Shame I missed the last one," he said, confirming that his body had cramped up at the point of kicking.

Singapore next play Hong Kong on May 16th, at the Hong Kong Football Club while their next home game on May 23rd will be against the mighty Japanese.

Singapore starting lineup
Forwards
Alex Muir (#1)
Gaspar Tan (#2)
Nick Dance (#3)
Chris Gilbert (#4)
Steve Horsfall (#5)
John Lee (#6)
James Valintine (#7)
Ben Wheeler (#8, captain)

Backs
Andrew Lee (#9)
John Forrester (#10)
Desmond Wee (#11)
Mohd Ismail Bin A Kadir (#12)
Ryan Cumbers (#13)
Muhd Zaki Bin Mahmood (#14)
Gareth Pritchard (#15)

Reserves
Andy Douglas (#16)
Norman Sin (#17)
Andy bennett (#18)
Gabriel Lee (#19)
Tong Chin Hong (#20)
Matt Taloni (#21)
Iain McMullan (#22)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

Two Singapore players try to bring down a Kazakhstan player. (Photo 2 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

Hanging on for dear life. (Photo 2 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

Singapore players try to stop the ball from going closer to the try line. (Photo 3 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

Two Kazakhstan players brings down a Singapore player. (Photo 4 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

Gaspar Tan (#2) fails to stop Antonov Evgeny (#16) of Kazakhstan from scoring the first try. (Photo 5 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Singapore vs Kazakhstan

A Singapore player nursing a bloody nose after getting hit. (Photo 6 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan player sprints to the try line after receiving a pass from a team mate. (Photo 8 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Singapore’s captain Ben Wheeler (#8) scores the only try for the team. (Photo 9 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan looks to pass to a team mate. (Photo 10 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan player challenges his Singaporean opponent for the ball. (Photo 11 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

James Valintine (Singapore, #7) fails to stop his opponent from making off with the ball. (Photo 12 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Desmond Wee (Singapore, #11) ruthlessly takes down his opponent. (Photo 13 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

James Valintine tries to stop his Kazakhstan opponent from breaking free. (Photo 14 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Andrew Lee (Singapore #9) passes the ball out to a team mate. (Photo 15 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Andrew takes down his opponent. (Photo 16 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Singapore player gets double-teamed on a tackle. (Photo 17 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

The crowd cheers as Singapore’s John Forrester (#10) converts a penalty. (Photo 18 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A supporter proudly waves the Singapore flag during half time. (Photo 19 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Players from the Tanglin Rugby Club have some fun on the sideline. (Photo 20 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Gareth Pritchard (Singapore, #15) dives to bring down his Kazakhstan opponent… (Photo 8 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

… with the help of team mate Gaspar Tan (#2). (Photo 22 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Despite a strong defence which stopped Kazakhstan’s three attempts at the try line, Singapore could not stop Guselnikov Oleg (Kazakhstan, #9) from getting past on the fourth. (Photo 23 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A rough tackle saw Iain McMullan (Singapore #22) being lifted up by his Kazakhstan opponent… (Photo 24 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

… and smashed into the ground neck first. (Photo 25 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Ben Wheeler passes to Andrew Lee (Singapore, #9). (Photo 26 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Norman Sin (Singapore, #17) holds on tightly to the ball. (Photo 27 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Singapore player passes to a team mate. (Photo 28 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A small group of Kazakhstan supporters cheer their team on after the win. (Photo 29 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A disappointed John Lee pondering about what might have been in this close game. (Photo 30 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Singapore player fumbles as he receives the ball. (Photo 31 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan player steals possession of the ball. (Photo 32 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Ben Wheeler runs with the ball. (Photo 33 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

A Kazakhstan player loses the ball as he is tackled by his Singapore opponents. (Photo 34 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Engaging in a scrum. (Photo 35 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

The Singapore players recover after a try. (Photo 36 © Ben Goh)

singapore vs kazakhstan asian 5 nations

Ryan Cumbers kicking for touch. (Photo 37 © Ben Goh)

More pictures in the gallery.

15 Comments

  1. PK May 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Singapore Rugby Fan,

    I agree a somewhat with your view – tha players you stated should have a place in a team seeing their exprience and ability. I understand that Hairul declined to be in the national set up due to work committments -which is the nature of being an part time rugby player and full time employee.

    I do however have to say that there have been some outstanding young local talents in the current national team. While they might not be starting, they are getting valuable exprience. John Lee, who started against Khazakstan has been in great form for the SCC, as has young Gabriel Lee who was selected into the team based on his form for SCC during the season.

    One does has to wonder the expat vs local arguement. Mark Lee of Bedok Kings should be in the team in my opinon. He’s played for Singapore for a long time, and is still arguably one of the fittest and strongest props on the island.What the coaches see in Nick Dance and Adam Miur, and this is no disrespect to them at all, vs a provent local talent that helped get Singapore to Division 1 in the first place is puzzling to say the least.

    At the end of the day, its the selectors choice, and I guess as patriotic rugby fans we need to get behind the team no matter who plays for them.

  2. joel May 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    I believe Ryan Cumbers is an up and rising prodigy. He is super buff too for his age. Damn buff infact!

  3. Singaporean Rugby Fan May 13, 2009 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    I have been watching rugby for many years and i have seen a lot of local rugby players grow up. I do not believe that there are not many local players in Singapore that cannot make it to the Singapore National Team.

    I have watched Bedok Kings and Singapore Cricket Club play in the league many times and there were a lot of local players that shine in these 2 teams. Hairul from SCC is a very good player but yet he is not in the national team. I am not exactly sure why he is not in the national team, but i’m sure he can make it to the national team. The Bedok Kings loose forward trio of James Valintine, Romi Musa and Rong Jing Xiang of which 2 of the 3 are locals have also been very impressive in the league this year. Rong and Romi had a pretty good season this year but yet both of them are not playing in the national team. I have followed the saga of the local players staging a sit out of national team, so i’m not too sure if that is one of the reason on why Rong is not in the team.

    At the end of the day, if there are locals in Singapore that are up to the task, so why are we looking towards expatriates to fill up the team. The question that i really want to put across to the President of the Singapore Rugby Union is, how will these expatriates contribute to the sport when their contracts run out with their companies and have to leave the country. Because for locals, whether they are quitters or patriots, they will be in the country for a longer length of time then these expatriates.

    When can i see a national team without expatriates and all of whom will be able to sing the national anthem with passion.

  4. PK May 13, 2009 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Just a little info on the foreigners –

    Under International Rugby Board Rules (IRB) all you need is a 3 year residency period in order to qualify to play for another country. Hence most of the guys on the Singapore team still hold their own passports (from england and the like) but qualify to play for Singaproe as they have been here for more than 3 years.

    Its a very fine line – Rugby is hugely popular in the schools here, but what the expats offer is exprience that many locals do not have. Many have played overseas at a higher level than what is on offer in the region, and if they are good its pretty hard to deny them a place if one is on the coaching staff that is required to bring results in.

    On the other hand, the question of developing local talent arises – like all sports, if we don’t expose young talents to international exposure how are they going to improve? There are talented locals in the rugby scene – but will they be given the opportunity to develop?

    The last facet is our own locals – many drop out of the game to persue studies and careers – this is evident in all sports, but I think even more so in rugby. One player i spoke to who played for singapore at age group level noted to me that of his teamates that played in those teams some 6 years ago, only 3 of them are still actively playing rugby. That’s a worrying statistic if you consider that the aim of age group teams is to develop players for the national team!

  5. d32 May 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    red sports poll results tell it all. haha:)
    What are your thoughts on foreign sports talents?
    We don’t develop our born and bred talents properly. (30.0%, 158 Votes)

    to ahoy: singapore rugby are all amateurs nobdy gets paid
    explains the lack of locals? o.0

  6. d32 May 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    the s’pore foreign talent scheme lah. s’pore will favor overseas players with experience, skill and talent rather than locals. anyway rugby not very popular in singapore therefore not many local players willing to dedicate time for rugby

  7. ahoy May 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    i agree with jamal. also, i watched the game sngapore played against korea on tv and the s’pore team didn’t look professional at all. (no offence) can someone please explain to us the rationale behind having westerners to represent our nation?

  8. jamal May 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    someone enlighten me please. It appears to me that most of the Singapore players are westerners. is it allowed in rugby for someone to play for other countries or are they naturalized singaporean?

  9. supporter May 11, 2009 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Photo 37- No. 13 is Ryan Cumbers, hence it was not a drop kick. It was a kick for touch.

  10. William May 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    they really used the hello kitty-design jersey?

  11. Rugby May 10, 2009 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    No 13 is Ryan cumbers..played for spore in 07 as well..

  12. Rugby Fan May 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Photo 37 isnt Forrester taking a penalty kick.

    I believe its Ryan Cumbers taking a drop kick to restart the match.

  13. d32 May 10, 2009 at 10:18 am - Reply

    it was a gd game. thought singapore was gonna win after the last penalty then Kazakhstan scored in the last 5 mins:(

  14. Shaun May 10, 2009 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Who’s number 13?

  15. Nic May 9, 2009 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the quick update, Les!

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