Story by Yogaraj Panditurai/Red Sports
Physical, Sports, & Outdoor Education Branch (PSOEB), Evans Road, Wednesday, March 8, 2017 – Although his side racked up a convincing 35-0 victory over Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) in the National B Division Rugby Championship semi-final, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) coach Adrian Chong still felt the defending champions could have played much better.
“We were in a bit of a hurry in the first half and made too many errors. We were camping in the opposition half but didn’t have any points to show for it,” Chong said.
“I thought that was due to nerves maybe and a lack of composure. We were more steady in the second half but the boys must learn to buckle down from the start and stick to the game plan.
“We didn’t start as well as we should have but I’m glad we ended the match playing better. The second half was when our boys finally found their rhythm. We were racking up the points and I thought we defended quite resolutely but looking towards the final, the boys must focus from start to finish to safely cross the hurdle.”
The 14-time B Division champions were indeed slow off the blocks come kick-off. ACS(I) were constantly pushing men forward and bombarded down the flanks tirelessly to get one over the Barker boys.
Having previously lost 2-57 to the same opponents in Round 1, ACS (Barker) adopted a more defensive mindset. Their plan was to sit back and soak up the pressure while waiting for the right opportunity to launch a quick-fire counter-attack.
However, that opportunity proved elusive. Sean Ng (ACS(I) #21) managed to squeeze his way past the stubborn Barker defence to score a try before Aran Willetts’ (ACS(I) #10) successful conversion made it 7-0.
A try from Chamapun Kongpote (ACS(I) #6) brought the score to 12-0 and with the last kick of the half, Aran’s (ACS(I) #10) penalty put his side 15-0 up heading into the break.
The second half proved to be a breeze for ACS(I) as they regrouped. The reigning champions played a high tempo through their precise passing and mazy runs all over the field to keep their opponents guessing.
Playing at a quicker pace now, ACS(I) were able to finish off their chances and were more clinical as four tries followed in quick succession.
Sean Ng (ACS(I) #21) notched another try before Bryan Beng (ACS(I) #33), Elroy Jahja-Loo (ACS(I) #12) and Lucas Teng (ACS(I) #9) chipped in with individual tries to end the game 35-0.
Tryscorer and fly-half Lucas (ACS(I) #9), 16, spoke of his team’s camaraderie in the win and said: “As a team, we worked really hard. Despite a few injuries on our team, we managed to back each other up and got the job done today. Our communication has really improved throughout the season and we understood what each person was doing out there just now.
“But there’s still a lot of work to do. We need to work on our attacking structure and backline. Basically, we have to look over our gameplan again in general and see what are the tweaks we can make.”
ACS (Barker) coach Rex Wang commended his troops despite the heavy defeat, saying: “I thought the boys played better here compared to the previous group game against ACS(I). The boys stepped up today. It was a good performance overall but they just didn’t have the mental strength to endure the last quarter.”
ACS(I) will bid for a 15th B Division title against Raffles Institution (RI) on March 29 at Evans Road.
RI upset 24-time winner St Andrew’s Secondary 19-15 in the other semi-final to book a final appearance for the first time since 2012.
ACS(I) vs ACS(BR)
Sean Ng (ACS(I) #21) – 2 tries
Chamapun Kongpote (ACS(I) #6) – 1 try
Aran Willetts (ACS(I) #10) – 1 conversion and 1 penalty
Bryan Beng (ACS(I) #33) – 1 try
Elroy Jahja-Loo (ACS(I) #12) – 1 try
Lucas Teng (ACS(I) #9) – 1 try
Nijhof Veera (#16), Ira Jiale (#2), Elijah Ho (#3), Ethan Chang (#17), Tuang Xiang Yu (#18), Joshua Tan (#5), Ong Li-Sheng (#4), Chamapun Kongpote (#6), Reuben Sivadas Ruixian (#7), Lam Wei Xuan (#8), Lucas Teng (#9), Aran Willetts (#10), Andrius Wong (#11), Elroy Jahja-Loo (#12), Finan Siow (#13), Timothy Goh (#14), Sean Tan (#15), Noah Tan (#19), Timothy Tan (#20), Sean Ng (#21), Matthew Lim (#22), Lim Hongxi (#23), Ian Kwan (#24), William Tan (#25), Muhammad Kiane Rashidale (#26), Richard Goo (#27), Huang Jing Yu (#28), Bryan Beng (#33)
Andre Lian (#1), Mohamed Danish (#2), Sushendran Ramesh (#3), Brennan Ponniah (#17), Ien Wong (#18), Mohamed Dani (#16), Mohammad Ghazi (#28), Marcus Koh (#29), Hersh Rupawala (#4), Hiero Ong (#5), Matteo Rinaldi (#6), Jerel Wong (#7), Joshua Ng (#8), Fauzan Aziem (#9), Ethan Sum (#10), Danish Rusydi (#11), Ryan Galistan (#12), Nathan Yong (#13), Mohammad Faiq Harraz (#14), Tristan Galistan (#15), Dylan Chua (#19), Ethan Thomas (#20), Paul Allwood (#21), Chester Han (#22), Hua Kheng Ju (#23), Russell Loo (#24), Jason Lam (#25), Muhammad Haziq (#26)