The eagerly anticipated SRU Premiership League 17/18 began last Saturday with two matches to be played. Singapore Cricket Club played Bucks RFC at Dempsey Field, while Bedok Kings RFC were to play Wanderers RFC at Turf City. The latter match which due to poor weather conditions, had to be postponed. Regardless, we were still treated to a massively entertaining and exciting week of rugby thanks to the intense game of rugby served up between SCC and Bucks, the reigning champions.

Kickoff for this game was at 3pm and both teams fielded strong lineups. Despite opting to rest their national team players who just returned from a successful campaign in Taiwan, Bucks still had an extremely strong and exciting side, with all 3 of their new signings, Andrew Kelleher, Adam Field and Andy Wallace, starting in key midfield positions as the standoff, inside centre and outside centre respectively. On the other hand, SCC fielded an equally strong squad, especially with prodigy Xavier Ducourneau, a SEA Games silver medallist, at fullback and national Men’s squad No. 8 Peter McFeely at the back of the scrum. Patrick Duffy who was selected for the maiden time in the recent national Men’s squad was among the substitutes.

Within 4 minutes of kickoff, Bucks scored a quick converted try. Greg Manning scored the first try of the Premiership season, which was converted by fullback Mike Benkimoun. At around the 10th minute mark, Bucks was awarded a kickable penalty which Mike Benkimoun duly converted. Bucks raced to an early 10-0 lead. However, SCC proved their mettle by not cracking under pressure, but instead regrouping and reorganising their efforts to get back into the game. They got a try back around the halfway mark of the first half via Jon Lee after much hard work and grinding throughout this period. The try was converted by fullback Xavier Ducourneau. 5 minutes from the end of the first half, SCC scored another try which was again converted by Xavier Ducourneau. SCC was leading 14-10 going into halftime, was an upset on the cards?

Around halftime, the changes started ringing, with both sides substituting a player each. Then around the 15 minute mark into the 2nd half, Bucks lock Sean Casey was sin binned. It was also at this period of time when Bucks decided to ring wholesale changes, replacing their remaining front rows with fresh players as well as their blindside flanker and fullback. SCC decided to take out Peter McFeely for Harry Waugh. Within 5 minutes, Bucks replied with their 2nd try of the match, however it was not converted. Bucks snatched the lead back again narrowly at 15-14. Further changes were made during this period, with each side replacing one man in their forward pack. 5 minutes later, Bucks were again awarded a kickable penalty which was well slotted in. During this break in play, Bucks replaced their outside centre as well as their winger with fresh faces. Another penalty was awarded to Bucks in the last ten minutes of the game, which replacement Jonny Carsewell duly slotted home. SCC made their final change a few minutes later, and the game petered out to its end, with Bucks edging SCC out 21-14 in this tight affair.

The first week of Premiership rugby has come to the end, here’s wishing all the teams the very best for next week’s round of matches and more exciting and intense games for us spectators! The Women’s Premiership is also kicking off this Saturday with Blacks RFC v Bucks RFC and Skyllas Rhino v Skyllas Wolves.

SRU National League Results

SCC 14:21 Bucks
Kings v Wanderers (postponed)

Wanderers Rovers 0:20 Wanderers Gents
Kings2 15:17 SCC Tankards
Gaulois 27:12 Blacks
Oldham Old v Oldham Blue (postponed)
Saints2 v SCC Lions (postponed)