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Watch: the Asian club 7s tournament where Jonah Lomu made his international debut

By Richard North

… Before the late Jonah Lomu stormed onto the world rugby scene at the Hong Kong Sevens, he actually made his international debut at the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens.

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Played every year on the iconic Padang (literally, the field) in the heart of downtown Singapore, the SCC Sevens is the oldest club sevens event in Asia and the third-oldest sevens event in the world. And as the teams from across the globe kick-off this weekend, fans will be partying in the Singapore sun as the tournament celebrates its 70th year.

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The iconic Lomu, who went on to score 37 tries from 63 tests with the All Blacks,  described visiting Singapore when he was just 14 years old, alongside fellow All Blacks Sevens legend Eric Rush.

“I was playing with Eric Rush at the time and he didn’t realise how young I was until he looked at my passport”.

The SCC Sevens is affectionately known as the ‘Friendly Sevens’ and in addition to Lomu and Rush, All Blacks’ Hall of Famer Tana Umaga and South Africa’s former World Player of the Year Cecil Afrika have graced the Padang on their ascendency to rugby stardom. 

In this, it’s 70th year, all eyes will be on Fijian powerhouse Daveta, boasting a number of players from Fiji’s historic 2016 Rio Olympics Sevens gold-medal winning squad.

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Alongside six-time champions Daveta, this year’s tournament will feature 15 teams competing for the prestigious Ablitt Cup, including development sides from France, Hong Kong and Sweden; Papua New Guinea’s InterOil Turagu; Japan’s Tamariva; 2014 winner Borneo Eagles from Malaysia; and Tribe 7s Australia, essentially the Australian Sevens Development team. Perth’s Palmyra, one of several club teams from around the Southeast Asia region, will make its 40th trip to Singapore to join hosts SCC in their celebrations.

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“The SCC Sevens is embedded in Singapore rugby culture and is one of the key rugby events on our calendar not to be missed,” says Terence Khoo, President of the Singapore Rugby Union. “With the recent success of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens and Super Rugby, Singapore is emerging as a rugby hub in Asia and the SCC Sevens adds to this with world-class teams and high profile players competing. To have not one but two iconic sevens events in Singapore is truly a testament to the passion and dedication all involved have in ensuring that rugby continue to flourish and adapt in the changing times.”

For those rugby fans lucky enough to be living in or passing through Singapore this weekend, early bird tickets are on sale at www.apactix.com and are priced at S$20 for an adult three day pass and S$10 for under-18s. An adult pass will be S$30 when purchased at the door from November 3. All tickets exclude a S$1 booking fee.

About the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC)

Established in 1852, the Singapore Cricket Club today counts itself as one of the premier sports and social clubs in Asia. It is the second oldest sports club in Singapore and stands at the centre of the city’s colonial heart and the glamorous skyline of the business district. The SCC entertains 13 sports sections, of which, six hold major internationally acclaimed tournaments annually on the world famous “Padang”.

About the SCC International Rugby 7s

The Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s is organized by the Singapore Cricket Club and is one of the oldest invitational team sports event in Asia. It is the second oldest international Rugby 7s tournament in the world, second to the original home of the 7s, Melrose in Scotland.

What began as a humble tournament for Singaporean and Malaysian teams in the 1940s has grown to be regarded as a spectator-friendly tournament. The Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s celebrates its 70th edition this year, and promises to feature high playing standards from teams all across the world. Continuing the development of rugby in Singapore, the Club also conducts coaching clinics along with youth sponsorships to expand and support youth rugby.

The trophy cabinet for Asia’s oldest Sevens tournament

Featured Video Credit: SCC 7s on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgUeW0Xvteu1CbvBBu5vIlw

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