Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Sunday, August 18, 2013 – Singapore held a late lead before the vaunted Hong Kong ‘A’ selection squad snuck in for two successive tries in the final five minutes for a 35–25 win in the Asian Tri Nations tournament. The tournament is making a comeback 14 years after its inaugural edition in 1999.
In a match that saw six lead changes, Singapore held a 25–21 advantage entering the final minutes, but outside centre Blandon Tan received a red card in the 72nd minute that left the host country playing with one man down.
Singapore lost possession of the ball around midfield in the 76th minute, and Hong Kong’s Gary Wong rumbled in for the try to help Hong Kong take a 28-25 advantage.
Singapore pushed forward in search of a reply but gave up possession once again in the 78th minute, and Lee Jun Sing of Hong Kong broke through down the left sideline for the final score.
The match did not count as an international test match because Hong Kong fielded a selection squad comprising top players from its domestic league and youth developmental squads. Hong Kong is traditionally an Asian rugby powerhouse that currently competes in the top tier of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations tournament.
“There were a lot of positives that we will take away from this match,” said Inoke Afeaki, Singapore’s technical director and national coach. “We did a lot of good work and deserved to win the match. We have to take account of what happened at the end of the match and make sure it doesn’t happen in the next one.”
Until the two late tries, the Singapore Reds had the 700 fans in attendance roaring with their inspired play. Tries by flankers Murray Wyllie and Jonathan Lee helped the home team take a 15–13 lead into half-time. Singapore held its biggest lead of the match at 25–18 when left wing Bryan Ng latched onto a beautiful long punt from scrum half Mohammad Suhaimi bin Amran to score a try in the 54th minute.
“Nothing beats the feeling of playing on home soil in front of your home crowd,” Suhaimi said. “I saw really good intensity from my teammates at the beginning of the game. Towards the end, we had a few errors in decision-making, but overall, the team did well.”
James Robertson (#1, Loose Head Prop), Gaspar Tan (#2, Hooker), Dirk Erik Vis (#3, Tight Head Prop), Robert Hewitson (#4, Lock), Daniel Marc Chow (#5, Lock, captain), Murray Wyllie (#6, Blind Side Flanker), Simon Etheredge (#7, Open Side Flanker), Peter McFeely (#8. Number 8), Mohammad Suhaimi bin Amran (#9, Half Back), Marah Fahmy Hoessein (#10, Stand Off), Bryan Ng (#11, Left Wing), Andrew Bourke (#12, Inside Centre), Blandon Tan (#13, Outside Centre), Nicholas Alexander Groen (#14, Right Wing), Muhammad Zaki bin Mahmood (#15, Full back)
Reserves: Alvin Ho (#16, Front Row), Javin Singh (#17, Front Row), Matthew Head (#18, Front Row), Julien Albert Michel Valette (#19, Second Row), Jonathan Lee (#20, Third Row), Mohammad Saifuluddin bin Mohammad Khalid (#21, Inside Back), Mashrul Hadi bin Hanafi (#22, Midfield), Sidney Kumar (#23, Outside Back)
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