1970 - 1972
The 1970s ushered in a golden era for Singapore Rugby. A Singapore side was formed in 1971 to play an international friendly against the famed England Team at Jalan Besar Stadium. Leow Kim Liat was to captain the side, with How Wai Chew and John Koh the only locals in the side. Leow unfortunately was injuried in the lead-up to the game and did not play.
1972 saw the birth of the first truly national team comprising of only citizens. The team competed in its first international tournament, the Asian Rugby Football Union Championships. The team was led by Leow Kim Liat who became the first Asian to lead Singapore’s National team as Captain in an international competition. The team finished a credible fourth in Asia.
The resulting years saw the first national rugby team to compete in a multisport Games at the 1975 SEAP (South East Asian Peninsular Games). In 1977, Singapore competed in the SEAP games again and came out Silver medalists.
That benchmark era spilled into the 1980s with another Malaya Cup win in 1982. Sadly, the pull out of the Singapore team from the annual Malaya Cup competition saw a decline in performances on the international level.
Following a heavy defeat at the hands of Hong Kong the SRU employ the first full time secretary. Before this appointment the SRU was ran by volunteers or part time workers.
Peter Randell is appointed as the first CEO (Chief Executive Officer) who employed first 4 Developmental officers who were also local players. SRU ranked last in the Asia Rugby Standings with only 10 schools playing locally.
Peter Randell set targets to increase number of rugby playing schools beyond the traditional plying schools in Singapore and to become the number one rugby team in South-East Asia.
Singapore Rugby Union begin programmes in schools introducing a modified Rugby game called ‘Singa-rugby’ to Primary schools.
Programmes are sponsored by Prudential Assurance. Weekend clinics begin at primary schools on Sundays with local clubs from including Bedok Kings, Northern Knights, Lion Red, Blacks and Wanderers. National team disbanded – Open Trials for the 1995 SEA GAMES.
Two Australian Development officers appointed and Andrew Blades (Australian prop 1996-1999) appointed the head coach for the SEA GAMES.
Fund raising dinners held – one dinner was held in conjunction with SCC (Singapore Cricket Club) raising money for development programmes in Singapore.
Major Sponsors of 1995 were: 7-Eleven stores, Coca-Cola & Prudential.
Sean Fitzpatrick is the first in the line of internationally renowned rugby layers to grace the Rugby Dinners. Amongst the guest speakers who have graced these dinners since 1995 are John Eales, Jonah Lomu, Eric Rush, Nick Farr Jones, Robert Jones, Jeremy Guscott, Will Carling, David Campese and Gareth Edwards.
Canterbury becomes the Official Apparel Sponsor of the SRU.
Singapore Under 23 won the first ever match for any National Rugby Team when they defeated the Malaysian Under 23 in a close encounter in KL.
A major drive for the introduction to touch rugby in secondary schools and junior college. Lee Wee Keong and Rong Jing Xiang were awarded the Age Group Meritorious Award from the Singapore National Olympic Council.
Over 100 teams take part in the first ever SPH Touch Rugby Carnival at the old SPE in Bukit Timah
Anchor Beer comes on board to sponsor the National Team. The National Men’s Team is popularly known as the Anchor Reds.
Rugby was played in the Singapore National Stadium for the first time where China played their first ever test against Singapore for the Standard Chartered Cup which resulted in a 33-3 win to Singapore.
First ever women’s 7s team to compete in Hong Kong 7s. First ever test win over Malaysia and also first test win in over 10 years for Singapore.
Standard Chartered and M1 become major sponsors of the SRU.
National Under 18 Team was awarded the Young Team (Merit) Award for being first in the Standard Chartered Under 18 Triangular defeating Hong Kong and Thailand.
SRU strikes a partnership with the New Zealand Singapore Business Council to recognise and reward Potential Rugby Stars with the Rising Star Award.
Adidas comes on board to sponsor the footwear for the SRU and the National Teams.
Singapore hosts Standard Chartered Asian Rugby Championship where matches were played in the National stadium.
SRU hosted the first ever SPH touch rugby tournament and SRU Exhibition in the city at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.
Singapore propose first tri-nation between Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong where saw Singapore lost narrowly 12-10 to Hong Kong which showed the development since the loss back in 1994.
The tournament saw Singapore’s first win over the Chinese Taipei in 10 years. New sponsors for the SRU were Citizen Watch Company and Fuji Xerox.
Singapore Rugby Union bids to hosts the IRB World evens Series but was unsuccessful.
Adidas comes on board as the SRU apparel sponsor. The Singapore National Team becomes one of three teams in the world, besides Samoa and New Zealand, to have a National Team Jersey designed by Adidas.
Singapore bids to host a leg of the IRB Sevens Series. Awarded hosting rights for the 2001/2002 IRB Sevens Series twinning with Kuala Lumpur.
The last M1 National Rugby Championship is held in 2001 as M1 moves their sponsorship to the Schools Series in 2002.
Inaugural IRB Singapore Sevens hosted at the National Stadium. National Men’s Team loses Division Two Title at the Asian Rugby Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. With the Support of Standard Chartered Bank, SRU signs a partnership with the University of Wales, Cardiff to place 2 UWIC Students on a 1 year internship as Development Officers with the SRU as part of their Degree Programme.
Singapore hosts the SPH Fun Touch Rugby in the heartlands at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.
The Singapore Men’s Seven Team scores a historic win over Japan at the Hong Kong Sevens.
National Women’s Sevens finish 2nd in the Asian Women’s Sevens in Kazakhstan.
The IRB Sevens Singapore is cancel due to the SARs Virus.
The National Women’s Team received the SNOC Award for their performance in Kazakhstan
The IRB Sevens returns to Singapore and Standard Chartered becomes the naming sponsor of the IRB Sevens. Singapore hosts of the annual Asian Women’s Rugby Championship with the final being played at the National Stadium during the IRB Sevens. The Women’s team lost to Japan in the semi-finals.
The Men’s 15 Team regains the ARFU Division 2 Title with wins over Arabian Gulf and Thailand in Hong Kong.
SRU hosts the first ever Beach Rugby Carnival in Sentosa with 50 teams taking part.
SRU host the inaugural IRB Sevens Series.
Singapore knocked out of the RWC Qualifiers after losing the match against Sri Lanka despite winning the first game against Malaysia.
2nd Beach Touch Carnival held in Sentosa with almost 100 teams taking part.
The first ever National Women’s 15s Team compete in the Asian Women’s Rugby Championship.
SRU introduces free Touch and Contact Rugby Programmes, with the support of SSC.
SRU hosts the last IRB Singapore Sevens in April 2007.
At the end of 2006, there are approximately over 200 schools participating in different forms of Rugby in Singapore.
Four Under 16 players win a trip of a lifetime, sponsored by the Standard Chartered Heroes in the Making Programme, spending over a week immersing themselves in the rugby culture in Wales.
Victoria Bitter comes on board to sponsor the National Rugby Championship.
The inaugural VB Women’s 15s National Rugby Championship is held in 2007.
Ian Bremner was appointed as CEO.
With Rugby in the SEA Games after a lapse of 12 years, the men’s and women’s national team both did well in the Korat Games and won bronze and silver medals respectively
Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) on behalf of CCAB ran the inaugural International And Singapore Athletic Championship (ISSAC) – Rugby 2008 competition between Singapore and International schools. The various age group tournaments involved both Singapore and international schools and the main objective of the tournament is to strengthen the international relations through the game of rugby.
Victoria Bitter Women’s NRC 7s tournament was held in Feb with 5 teams participating.
Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Rugby Union launched Asia’s first National Rugby Academy.
Gene Tong was appointed as National Rugby Academy Manager to develop rugby elite with Asia’s first full programme academy from age 13 – 21.
Singapore Rugby Lions have been crowned Champions of the ARFU Rugby First Division and will now take their place amongst the elite of Asian rugby. Following a draw against Sri Lanka and a one point victory against Chinese Taipei, the Singapore squad were presented the HSBC trophy. This represents a landmark day in Singapore Rugby history with a first visit to the top tier and fixtures in the April and May 2009 period against Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. With the recent success of the Singapore National team in gaining promotion to HSBC A5N the team have also risen in the IRB World rankings. As of 1st December 2008 are now ranked 48th having previously been 55th. This jump of 7 places puts Singapore ahead of all other ASEAN countries.