Story by Shenn Tan/Red Sports. Photos by Shenn Tan/Red Sports and Jared Chow/Red Sports.
MOE (Evans Road) Stadium, Monday, 8th May 2023 — Raffles Institution ground down Anglo-Chinese Junior College in the A Division rugby semi-finals on Monday, running away in the second half to finish 45-6.
This is the first A Division 15-a-side rugby season in 3 years — the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 and 2021 tournaments, whereas 2022’s NSG was played in the 7s format in order to conform to prevailing safety measures.
“It feels great to be back playing normal rugby again”, said Raffles vice-captain Dylan Tan (RI #9).
“7s is more backs-oriented but now with 15s, the whole team is there playing; really helps with bonding and the team spirit.”
RI and ACJC traded penalty attempts early on. ACJC were the first to break the deadlock through Noah Oey (ACJC #15), who kicked a penalty to score 3 points for his team.
Raffles, however, were the first to score a try, with Muhammad Haziq bin Mohd Azhar (RI #19) the beneficiary of turnover ball. Tristan Ang (RI #10) was unable to convert the try, making the score 5-3.
Raffles remained in control of the match and their backline was able to consistently find space to run.
RI #23 Titus Lim made an exciting break down the right side before being dragged down 10 meters out by the AC defence. The Rafflesians capitalised on their field position and a few phases later, Jordan Lee (RI #7) offloaded to teammate Ernest Yap (RI #15) to score. Tristan was able to find his target this time, taking the score to 12-3.
Noah hit another penalty for ACJC soon after, making the score 12-6.
But RI had the final say in the half; scrum-half Dylan Tan (RI #9) took a quick tap from a penalty and his team made their way downfield, culminating in a try to Titus (#23). Tristan missed the conversion, and the scoreline remained 17-6 heading into the break.
Raffles gradually asserted more dominance over the game as their opponents tired in the second half.
Powerful number 8 Kyler Teh (RI #8) scored two tries in a row, with both converted by Caleb Loh (RI #18), who took over kicking duties for the rest of the game.
ACJC then gained possession after sloppy play from RI, and made their way upfield. Raffles were able to hold out, however, defending resolutely on their tryline even with Caleb (RI #18) injured downfield. Caleb was able to return to play and eventually, the ball was turned over.
A yellow-carded high tackle soon afterward from AC’s Jaylen Ang (ACJC #10) resulted in ACJC being reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes, and momentum swung back to RI, with whom it remained for the rest of the match.
Play eventually resulted in a scrum to AC on their 5 meter line, but the clearing kick failed to find touch. The ball made its way through Raffles hands to Mark Lee (RI #25) on the opposite side of the field, and he cut through a light AC defence to score. Caleb added the extras to make the score 38-6.
Following the kickoff, RI broke away from the AC defence once more. Kyler (RI #8) carried strongly into the AC half, and Enzo Senna McCully (RI #21) picked the ball from the ruck and darted the final 10 meters to score. The game finished 45-6 to Raffles Institution after the conversion from Caleb (RI #18).
“There’s still gaps and mistakes to work on as we look towards the finals,” said Raffles vice-captain Dylan. “We’ll see what goes down on the field next week, but we have the self-confidence in our ability and the team to put on a good show.”
Speaking for ACJC was captain Ryan Seow, who was unfortunately injured before the season: “I think it was a little bit disappointing… but I could see (my teammates) play with their all on the field and I’m still proud of them.”
Ryan also noted the high tackles from his teammates during the game, saying: “defence is definitely something we can work on before finals.”
Raffles Institution will play Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the final at MOE (Evans Road) Stadium on Monday, 15 May 2023 at 4.30pm.
Kyler Teh Kai-En (#8) – 2 tries
Matthias Yap Tse Meng (#15) – 1 try
Muhammad Haziq bin Mohd Azhar (#19) – 1 try
Enzo Senna McCully (#21) – 1 try
Titus Lim Zong Shen (#23) – 1 try
Mark Lee Jun Kai (#25) – 1 try
Tristan Ang Rui Liang (#10) – 1 conversion
Caleb Low Sze Kai (#18) – 4 conversions
Anglo-Chinese Junior College
Noah Oey (#15) – 2 penalties
Raffles Institution Roster
Nathan Harrison Singgih (#14), Enzo Senna McCully (#21), Ilyas Kurniady bin Kamsul (#20), Tyler James Leong (#12), Gangisetty Venkata Datta Sai (#11), Kyler Teh Kai-En (#8), Mohammed Danish Khan bin Mohammed Noor Khan (#5), Aashish Babu (#26), Mark Lee Jun Kai (#25), Muhammad Haziq bin Mohd Azhar (#19), Dylan Tan Tze Kai (#9), Ho Shih-Yu (#6), Tristan Ang Rui Liang (#10), Perry Lai Yue Sheng (#1), Ethan Tan (#22), Josh Michael Tng (#24), Lee Jing Keane (#27), Isaiah Lee Ting You (#30), Jethro Lim Lei En (#16), Jordan Lee Zhao Feng (#7), Luke Chai Rong Yan (#17), Ernest Matthias Yap Tse Meng (#15), Rafael Low Ren Xiang (#29), Jayden Tan Junjie (#3), Titus Lim Zong Shen (#23), Marc Leong Weng Mun (#4), Loh Sze Kai Caleb (#18), Anand Isaac Sithu Tian Kai (#13), Isaac Lim Xin Hong (#2), Morrisey Izz Al Din (#28)
Anglo-Chinese Junior College Roster
Darrian Shaedon (#1), Rajendran Krishnan (#2), Harrold Wong (#3), Joah Wang Zheng Min (#16), Kieran Yi Wee (#17), Abiara Sherwin Uchenna (#18), Ng Khai Onn (#19), Muhammad Irshaad bin Mohamed Sultan (#29), Dennis Toh Yi An (#4), Manogaran Mohnish (#5), Benjamin Yong Zhen Yuan (#6), Jedidiah Lim Zheng Kai (#7), Javier Tan Junkai (#8), Ryan Tan Yi Ren (#9), Jaylen Ang Ding Heng (#10), Don Lam Xianjun (#11), Jonathan Varghese George (#12), Anand Devaprakash (#13), Hayyan Danish bin Johari (#14), Noah Oey (#15), Sean Khoo Jia Sheng (#20), Isaac Yang Shaoxuan (#21), Dylan Tan Ray Herng (#22), Russell Tan Yan Feng (#23), Mahadevan Sahishnu (#24), Juan Farrel Tjahjadi (#25), Ong Hua Jie Ro-I (#26), Chen Huai (#27), Alldan Chan Zea Keane (#28), Rey Shum Wei-liang (#30)
*** 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.