Former New Zealand All Blacks rugger Karl Te Nana leads students at the SportCares-SRU Rugby clinic with a cheer. Photo: SportSG
Instead of a usual school morning, some 50 budding young rugby players from school partners of SportCares were treated to a special Rugby Sevens clinic organised by the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU), featuring appearances from rugby legends and Olympic champions.
The students participated in basic drills under the guidance of SRU technical director Inoke Afeaki, as well as World Rugby Ambassadors Willie Lose and Karl Te Nana. They also got to play a game of tag-rugby together with the Fiji national team, who were gold medallists at the recent Rio 2016 Olympics and in town for the HSBC Singapore Sevens.
Willie Lose shares a light moment with students who attended the SportCares-SRU Rugby Clinic. Photo: SportSG
The young players participating in the clinic were a mix of local and international students from East Spring Secondary School, Orchid Park Secondary School (OPSS), Tanglin Trust School, and the Singapore Cricket Club team.
While most of the participants had played rugby before, students from OPSS were completely new to the sport. One of them, 16-year-old Kenji Chia enjoyed his first foray into rugby and appreciated the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with legends like Lose and Te Nana.
Students at the SportCares-SRU Rugby Clinic having fun with the drills led by the World Rugby Ambassadors. Photo: SportSG
“It was quite tough at first because it’s a new sport for me. I’ve never played rugby. It was really my first time holding the ball, and learning how to pass,” said Chia.
“I learned the basics of passing, and the strategy of how to pass, and how to move around in passing drills,” he shared, after revealing that OPSS would be joining the SportCares rugby enrichment programme very soon.
Karl Te Nana (left) looks on as Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (right most) and Mr Low Teo Ping, President SRU observe the rugby clinic. Photo: SportSG
Influential names in world rugby, Lose and Te Nana were happy to introduce their sport to the youngsters and impressed with the skills displayed by the participants in the clinic.
“I think the more they can [experience such events], the more clinics they can have, and the more often they get a chance to experience [rugby], the better,” said Lose.
“I just hope that the game grows, and here’s hoping that while I’m still alive, I get to see a Singapore [team] competing in the [World Rugby Sevens] tournament in the future,” he continued, sharing that he was heartened by the existence of such outreach events in the country.
Group photo with happy participants of the SportCares-SRU Rugby Clinic. Photo: SportSG
In fact, through clinics like these, the SRU hopes to inspire some of the younger players to go on and become great rugby players on the international stage, according to Afeaki: “My dream, and I’m sure [it is] everyone else’s dream, is to see a couple of kids in this programme make it to the top.”
The clinic also received a visit from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who addressed the attendees.
“Through rugby, our youths develop character, resilience, and teamwork. I’m happy to note that SportCares has been introducing rugby to our youths, and making a positive impact on their lives,” said Fu.
“I’m sure this rugby clinic, conducted by world-class champions from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens, will be a memorable and valuable experience for our youths,” she concluded.
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (in red) tries her hands at Rugby. Photo: SportSG
During the Singapore Sevens happening this weekend, SportCares youths will also be selling rugby jerseys at the official merchandise store in the National Stadium. This initiative, in collaboration with students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Business, aims to provide the youths with the fundamentals of merchandising and sales, as well the opportunity to take an active role at the store.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets to the Singapore Sevens, taking place on the 15th and 16th of April, head over to www.Singapore7s.sg
to buy them now!