Sunday, November 9, 2008

ARFU 2008 - Can Singapore do it again?

Yesterday, Singapore announced the squad that will be traveling up to Taiwan for this year's Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) tournament.

Looking at the squad, much has to be said of the shocking exclusion of so many brilliant local players and the stripping of captaincy from Singapore’s most capped rugby player, Rong JingXiang. It is really a sad sight to see what is becoming of a team which was so affectionately known as our "Anchor Reds", and who donned the sheer pride and joy of the Singapore flag. One must truly fear the day that the Singapore team transforms into a faint resemblance of a "Hong Kong" team is drawing nearer than we might have once anticipated.

Its not that I am prejudice against our expatriates who have flown to our shores and embraced our country, but I believe that much more must be done to support the very talents that Singapore has developed - so many have shown so much potential and talent, but have sadly been forgotten by the ever changing selectors. There was a time when Singapore stood strong as a local side, and had a lot more heart and camaraderie than there probably is today. The closest thing that probably resembled that kind of team dynamics was probably last year’s SEA games team, where all 12 players were purely local. I believe in the eyes of many supporters, we were proud of our boys when they won the bronze medal, not only because they did well, but because we knew that each one of them had put in a great deal of effort to be there...and in some ways represented many of us local boys in more ways than one.

Today, our National rugby scene has been clouded with politics off the field. In fact, it has probably come to a point where it has loss the focus on the talent and skills that actually is at Singapore’s disposal. And with every changing man that comes in to steer a change, more great local talent seem to be lost. From my memory the last man that actually came in and influence a positive change to Singapore rugby was, Matt ‘Bubba’ Ryan, who led the Singapore team to victory in the Division 2 ARFU Champions in 2004. So kudos to you, and to the many great local players that have came through the ranks.

Let’s hope the day will come when order will be restored in Singapore Rugby.
Interesting Fact 1: Rong Jingxiang is the most capped Singapore player with 43 International Caps and represented Singapore when he was 16.
Interesting Fact 2: There are 8 expatriate players in this year's ARFU squad, while 4 years ago in the last ARFU we had 6.
Interesting Fact 3: There has never been an expatriate Singapore captain in history, Chris Gilbert will be the first, and has 4 International Caps for Singapore
Interesting Fact 4: Not a single expatriate player who represented Singapore in the last ARFU is representing Singapore in this year's ARFU
Interesting Fact 5: The last time Singapore had a local Head Coach/Technical Director was in 2001 under Sam Chan.

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