We are in Week 2 of the World First Premiership and Challenge Cup. From this week onwards, “Match of the Week” will be played and live streamed on Friday evenings. The Singapore Select Team has also been renamed as the World First Lions as they embark on their debut season in the Premiership
Match of the Week
WANDERERS v WORLD FIRST LIONS (Lions)
22nd Jan, CCAB, 7.30PM
The World First Lions, formally known as the Singapore Select Team had a rough welcome to the Premiership in week one and with a succession of key injuries, it will be keen to see if they can bounce back against a Wanderers side coming off a great win against Bucks. This will be the first time in a long time that the “match of the week” will be live streamed and this game proves to be an interesting one to watch.
Daryl Chia, Tom Child and Jaike Carter were very impressive breaking the Bucks line and Rex Wang and Marah Ishraff will need to really be in sync to defend the line. Both Wang and Marah has played on the international stage and will have to really guide the young side. Wanderers halfback Damien Hoo is one to watch as well, the Australian having played some decent rugby in Australia.
Up front, the loss of Leong due to injury will be key, although Randal Quek stepped up admirably in week 1 for the Lions. Wanderers have the heavier pack, and with Singapore International Alvin Ho propping up the scrum, expect the forwards to provide the same platform for the backs to test the Lions defensively. Brice Derouet was exceptional for the Lions with his hard running and support play, and the naturalized Frenchman has the ability to spur the pack on.
Wanderers are going to be a challenge to the best of them, so be prepared for a fast pace game come Friday night.
BEDOK KINGS 1XV v SAINTS
23rd Jan, TURF CITY A, 5PM
This game will be a very interesting one to watch, with Saints looking a more composed and structured team after their maiden premiership season. They showed experience and structure against the World First Lions, formally known as the Singapore Select Team and with the return of their national representatives, certainly have the firepower to fuel their ambitions. Bedok fielded a young side in week one, and it is anyone’s guess how the side will look going into week 2. Both sides split the wins last season, and Bedok is definitely out to exact revenge this time round.
Nicholas Yau played brilliantly in week one despite playing in the unfamiliar jersey of number 9 for Saints and their backline is a who’s who of national representatives. Co-Captain Sidney Kumar will marshal a line that has the likes of 18 year old Ezekiel Soh at 10. Soh had a steady Premiership start in week one and will look to continue his form into this game. Bedok had a very youthful side in their week one defeat to SCC but expect the likes of Azmi Sulaiman to control proceedings around the contact area. Samuel Lau at centre will also be a threat for the Saints line if he is given the space and time to act in. His partnership with Jamil whose hard running and tackling are legendary will be one to watch especially if they are able to contain the Saints backline.
Up in the forwards, you have a front row that is led by Arthur Lim who plays with a considerable amount of maturity and reading of the game. Daniel Tan is a young buck that has just been called into the National Training side and was sidelined last week due to illness. Expect him to come out all guns blazing this week. It is in the Saints backrow that the threat will be to Bedok. Co- Captain Ashraff together with open side Flank Fariji and the evergreen Simon Simon Etheredge will need to be watched closely. Bedok have some considerable talent as well in the pack led by Paul Valin. Experience and youth blend in well and if they have National player Gaspar Tan available, it will be a dangerous pack.
So with so much on the line so early on the season, this is a hard one to call, and one just needs to be there to watch this.
SCC v BUCKS 1XV
23rd Jan, PADANG, 5PM
This is another absolute cracker of a game. Bucks are coming off a tough loss in week one, but they have been the bogey team for SCC in recent years so don’t count them out just yet. With Rugby finally returning to the Padang in week one, expect the hosts to defend their turf stoutly. SCC looked the goods in their massive win over Bedok, and as always will have an impressive forward pack to lead the way.
James Robertson was damaging as always from the number 2 jersey last week, and expect him to run around the park connecting with lock Nick Passi and backrower Matt Head. All are very experienced players who have played at the provisional level and internationally as well. Bucks have a massive pack this year, and held the scrums well in week one, but were simply outpaced around the park. Former Irish International Neil Best leads a backrow of some note, and he had a modest game at best last week. Officiating decisions did seem to frustrate Bucks as they do to the best of us, but Best and fellow Irishman Declan Heplin are key to a solid performance against the men in black and gold.
If the weather holds, the Padang surface will be perfect for the running rugby that both sides like to play. Charlie Lambert has been a thorn in the SCC side for a number of seasons and he was one of the rare standouts in week one. Lambert’s playmaking ability will be key, and the speed of Ian Cheong might test the SCC backline. That being said, the SCC backline is fairly strong though, with new additional Michael Oliver at 9 and Pat Duffy at 10 combining well to dictate play. Kevin Loo adds pace and strength with his international experience and that combination will be a deadly one testing the Bucks defence.
Week 2 Fixtures
World First Premiership
22nd Jan- Match of the Week
WANDERERS v World First Lions CCAB 7.30PM
BEDOK KINGS 1XV v SAINTS TURF CITY A 5PM
SCC v BUCKS 1XV PADANG 5PM
World First Challenge Cup
OLDHAM v BUCKS 2XV TURF CITY B 1PM
WANDERERS 2XV v BEDOK KINGS 2XV TURF CITY B 3PM
GAULOIS v SCC LIONS PADANG 1PM
SCC TANKARDS v SCC GROWLERS PADANG 3PM
SRU National Women’s League
NTU v BUCKS TURF CITY A 1.30PM
BLACKS v SKYLLAS TURF CITYA 3.30PM
Women’s Development League
SKYLLAS 1 v NTU/NUS TURF CITY A 1PM
SKYLLAS 2 v BLACKS 1 TURF CITY A 3PM