Story and photos by Bryan Foo/Red Sports
MOE (Evans) Stadium, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 — After a tightly contested first half, ACS(I) overcame SJI in the second half with an eventual full-time score of 50-5. With the win, Independent advance to the final of the rugby B Division National School Games (NSG).
Rugby has returned to form in the full 15s format this year, after being played in the 7s version at last year’s B Division NSG due to the prevailing public health measures at the time.
Outside centre Lucas Yeo (AC #12) kicked the match off with its opening try, breaking through the SJI defensive line to ground the ball before he could be stopped by covering SJI tacklers. The try was successfully converted by Harry Irfan Curran (AC #26) to put 7 points on the scoreboard for ACS(I).
Although it was Independent who drew first blood, SJI were the dominant side for the first quarter of the match.
SJI coach Jamal said: “We started well, we were well organised in the first half, we kept the score low with ACS(I).”
SJI found themselves 10 metres away from ACS(I)’s try line after consecutive pick-and-go phases and a few penalties awarded in SJI’s favour. Zachary Woo (SJI #12) received the ball to score on the try line. The try, unfortunately, remained unconverted as the kick by SJI captain Rahul Baskar (SJI #10) did not send the ball between the posts.
Independent responded with another try from Yeo (AC #12), which ACS(I) was unable to convert, bringing the first half to a close with the score at 12-5.
With SJI only trailing by a converted try, it was still anybody’s game.
“It was a very close affair because we were making uncharacteristic mistakes,” said ACS(I) coach Mr Adrian Chong. Chong added: “Thankfully, we actually held the lead going into half time.”
In the second half, ACS(I) were able to rally, with Yeo (AC #12) completing a hattrick with his third try of the match.
Additionally, Tobias Lim (AC #14) added two tries for Independent, while Darwish Bin Johari (AC #6) and Oscar McEwin (#13) scored a try apiece.
Curran (AC #26) himself put one try on the board for Independent and converted a further three tries in the second half. One successful conversion was also taken by kicker Jaryl Lee (AC #27).
“SJI was tiring [out] in the second half and we were able to exploit all the defensive lapses that were presented to us,” said coach Chong. “We were able to break the line much more easily, compared to the first half.”
With SJI unable to replicate their first-half vigour, the match drew to a close with a fulltime score of 50-5.
Nonetheless, coach Jamal was happy with how far his SJI team had come: “We have not qualified for [the semi-finals for] a very long time and taking the boys to qualify for the semi-finals is a good achievement for a start right now.”
Echoing his coach, SJI captain Rahul (SJI #10) is also thinking ahead to the 3rd/4th placing match: “I am quite looking forward to that, the National Stadium is a great venue and I can’t wait to play.”
As for ACS(I), qualifying for this B Division final holds special significance for this cohort of boys.
“This batch is the ‘Covid batch’,” said coach Chong. “They haven’t really even played an actual [15-a-side] final.”
ACS(I) captain Evan Tan (AC #8) said: “[Qualifying for the finals] is a really big blessing… especially being the one batch that came out of Covid, and the one batch that has been out for so long.”
“We are definitely looking forward to preparing for the finals,” added captain Tan (AC #8).
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) will play St. Andrew’s Secondary School in the final to be held at the Singapore National Stadium on Monday, 10 April 2023 at 4.30pm.
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) v St. Joseph’s Institution
Scoring by half
First Half: 12-5 (12-5)
Second Half: 38-0 (50-5)
Lucas Yeo Zhen Ye (#12) – 3 tries
Harry Irfan Curran (#26) – 1 try, 4 conversions
Tobias Lim Kel Mu (#14) – 2 tries
Hayyan Darwish Bin Johari (#6) – 1 try
Jaryl Lee Jianming (#27) – 1 conversion
Oscar Andrew James McEwin (#13) – 1 try
Zachary Woo Yong Zhi (#12) – 1 try
Leong Shon (#1), Ng Ray-Ven (#2), Jonathan Lok En Xu (#3), Lim Ke Jiun (#4), Evan Tan Yuren (#5), Lee Wen Hao, Judah (#28), Lucas Yeo Zhen Ye (#12), Oscar Andrew James McEwin (#13), Tobias Lim Kel Mu (#14), Loh Kuan Feng, Damian (#37), Evan Israel Tay Yi Hern (#10), Lee Jia-Yi, Samuel (#9), Reuben Sim Zhong Yi (#20), Ho Marcus (#16), Lee Weng Ern (#11), Hayyan Darwish Bin Johari (#6), Kayden Tok Zhi Yu (#19), Russell Hu Tsen Kai (#17), Russell Lim Yi (#7), Shane Wong Zheng Xian (#15), Evan Tan Kai Jin (#8), Ethan Lim (#22), Jansen Ling Qing Xian (#24), Harry Irfan Curran (#26), Jeremiah Lee Wei Han (#25), Kong Hoe Wah Isaac (#18), Ames Leung Man Hon (#60), Leon Loh Shu-Juin (#21), Low Ying Xiang, Joshua (#30), Jaryl Lee Jianming (#27)
Yong Yew Wey Sean (#2), Ashton Nate Chan (#17), Jay Vivas Manoharan (#1), Ian Douglas Robb (#3), Calvin Ho (#5), Sng Min Hao, Nicholas (#18), Bryce Emmanuel Sim (#7), David Acosta Villanueva (#30), Kenneth Anthony Prakoso (#20), Alexander Lim Jinn Yao (#5), Alexander William Robb (#9), Andre Mitchell Tay Chen Xu (#13), Ethan Gabriel Yu (#23), Shuban U K (#16), Cillian Lim Jin Han (#11), Rahul Baskar (#10), Jasper Davis Slade Lim An (#22), Tharun Pugalanthi (#15), Lee Shi Yang Linus (#24), Cayden Thong (Tang Jie’en) (#28), Abdul Azeem Bin Shaik Amin (#25), Elliott Thomas Ho Anzhe (#8), Zachary Woo Yong Zhi (#12), Ritesh Menon (#14), Kieran Seow (Xiao Zhenxin) (#6), Murphy Rory John Elijah (#37), Twang Jia Yi, Ian (Zhuang Jia Yi) (#21), Tan Xi Wei, Gavin (#26), Almeida Elkan Gerard (#27)
*** NOTE: Names and jersey numbers are based on official team sheets.
More photos next page. Please let us know if you recognise any of the players in the photos by leaving a comment, so we can edit the captions to include their names.
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