Story by Joash Chow/Red Sports. Photos by Jared Chow and Joash Chow/Red Sports.

RI’s Ernest Matthias Yap (#6) dives over to score his team’s second try. (Photo 1 © Joash Chow/Red Sports)

RI’s Ernest Matthias Yap (#6) dives over to score his team’s second try. (Photo 1 © Joash Chow/Red Sports)

Jurong West Stadium, Tuesday, 23 April 2024 — Raffles Institution beat a spirited Anglo-Chinese Junior College 17-3 to make it to their seventh straight final of the National School Games ‘A’ Division Rugby.

The game started promisingly for ACJC as Noah Oey (ACJC #11) gave his team an early 3-0 lead through a penalty goal in the third minute.

Raffles soon responded with a try by Luke Chai (RI #7) in the 10th minute after an earlier turnover and assist from hooker Rafael Low (RI #2).

RI looked to add to their 5-3 lead as they advanced deep into ACJC’s half. Strong defence from ACJC, however, led to a knock-on by RI just two metres short of the try line.

Nonetheless, Raffles soon found their way back as Ernest Matthias Yap (RI #6) powered over for a try. Captain Caleb Loh (RI #22) converted successfully from the right edge to make it 12-3.

The rest of the first half remained scoreless with both sides exchanging possession and defence.

The second half presented slipperier conditions as a downpour fell over Jurong West Stadium.

ACJC were unable to exit their half after two consecutive knock-ons but continued to hold strong defensively against Raffles’ offensive attempts.

It took a dummy and a sidestep from Caleb Loh (RI #22) to provide RI’s first attacking spark as captain Loh (RI #22) crossed ACJC’s 22-metre line. A few phases later, Luke Chai (RI #7) was in for his second try to extend Raffles’ lead to 17-3.

As the rain continued to fall, the intensity of the game increased with harder carries and bigger tackles from both sides.

RI were then reduced to 14 men for the rest of the game after Jonathan Lok (RI #29) was shown a red card for making head contact in a ruck clear-out.

ACJC were intent on scoring in the final minutes, but were ultimately well-contained until the final whistle by a cohesive 14-men Raffles defence.

“They played their hearts out from the first minute to the last whistle. Even though we were down for the majority of the game, I didn’t see any of our players with their heads down,” said ACJC captain Harrold Wong (ACJC #08) on his team’s efforts in the semi-final.

“Props to Raffles, there really wasn’t much more we could have done.”

While on Raffles’ performance and their run-up to the final, Raffles Rugby Master Mr Tan Mian Ou said: “I think they managed to execute the game plan which we had discussed and had been working on for quite a fair bit… Credit to ACJC, I think they made it difficult for us and they came to play for sure, but suitably satisfied with how the boys executed.”

“If there is one thing that is weighing on my mind, we have made the A Division Finals since 2016, apart from the Covid-19 years, we have been close in the last two or three years, so hoping it’s a ‘Lucky 7’ [this year].”

Looking towards the final, RI captain Caleb Loh (#22) said: “A big part will be the mentality game. ACS(I) have been the champions for the past 7/8 years. But I think we know that we don’t always have to be the best team, we just have to be the best on that day, so we’ll just be trying to focus on being strong mentally.”

“I think we have a good shot.”

Raffles Institution will play Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the final at the National Stadium on Monday, 6 May 2024 at 4.00pm.

The final will be live-streamed at the following link.

Anglo-Chinese Junior College finished 3rd after besting Saint Andrew’s Junior College 24-10 in the 3rd/4th placing match played on Monday, 29 April 2024.

Raffles Institution v Anglo-Chinese Junior College

Scoring by half
Half-time: 12-3
Full-time: 17-3

Raffles Institution

Luke Chai Rong Yan (#7) – 2 tries
Ernest Matthias Yap Tse Meng (#6) – 1 try
Loh Sze Kai Caleb (#22) – 1 conversion

Anglo-Chinese Junior College
Noah Oey (#15) – 1 penalty

Raffles Institution Roster
Jordan Lee Zhao Feng (#8), Luke Chai Rong Yan (#7), Ernest Matthias Yap Tse Meng (#6), Rafael Low Ren Xiang (#2), Jayden Tan Junjie (#3), Lim Zong Shen (Titus) (#23), Marc Leong Weng Mun (#1), Loh Sze Kai Caleb (#22), Anand Isaac Sithu Tian Kai (#13), Dylan Ong Kang Jun (#17), Morrisey Izz Al Din (#21), Kushagra Kesarwani (#11), Christian Tan Jun Han (#27), Jian Haomin (#30), M Parikshith (#26), Yeo Shan Yuan Keane (#18), Prawin Kuhanesan (#28), Liu Zheming (#9), Leong Jun Loong Benjamin (#19), Ryan Tan Yuming (#5), Vishnu Swaroop (#14), Wang Molin (#25), Ong Rei Hong (#24), Gao Huajun (#16), Lu Yuanxi (#10), Huang Jianwen Peter (#4), Jonathan Lok En Xu (#29), Aryan Ranjan Singh (#20), Fazil Olayemi Olaniyan (#12), Jin Junzhong (#15)

Anglo-Chinese Junior College Roster
Gareth Seah Ren Xiang (#02), Fitzand Kua Faye Zen (#24), Makoto Sueyoshi (#03), Darrian Shaedon (#01), David Lim Onn (#17), Ethan Koh Tze Kit (#20), Bertrand Tan Yhuet Gen (#32), Andre Dominic Wong Hoi Wan (#16), Harrold Wong (#08), Hayyan Danish bin Johari (#21), Isaac Yang Shaoxuan (#12), Javier Tan Junkai (#06), Javier Toh Jun Lin (#15), Jayden Toh Jun Yan (#10), Keane Wong Min Rong (#19), Kyle Christian Somasundram (#18), Lee Jia-Yi Samuel (#09), Lim Ke Juin (#07), Lukas Andersen (#05), Bradley Hang Zong Han (#25), Ng Yi Wang (#28), Noah Oey (#11), Ong Hua Jie Ro-I (#23), Ryan Shane Low Wen Liang (#27), Ryan Tan Yi Ren (#22), Sean Khoo Jia Sheng (#04), Shum Wei Liang, Rey (#13), Soh Yong-Jin (#14), Timothy Seow Zhi En (#26), Toh Boon Peng David (#29)

*** 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.