The eagerly anticipated return of the National Rugby League 2017/18 after the festive period did not fail to disappoint. The temperature might have been the lowest experienced by some in Singapore amidst a surge of monsoon but that did not affect the intensity shown by the players over the weekend.

In the Premiership, SCC 1st XV took on last year’s beaten finalists Wanderers RFC 1st XV while Bedok Kings RFC 1st XV took on reigning champions Bucks RFC 1st XV. Both games kicked off at 5pm, with the former being played at Turf City Pitch A while the latter was played at the Padang.

The games promised to be scrappy, muddy, and wet affairs – and they did not disappoint. In the match between SCC 1st XV and Wanderers RFC 1st XV, the momentum swung neither team’s way with both teams trading blows repeatedly throughout the match. Simon Etheredge led the SCC forwards’ blitz defence in typical fashion, putting his body on the line with his tenacious tackles to stop Wanderers’ momentum. SCC went ahead deservedly with a brace of converted penalties, but Wanderers struck back with a clever line-out move that was straight off their training ground. Wanderers then added on to their try tally, and despite SCC’s resurgence, the former held on for a crucial 15-13 win.

In the other Premiership game, Bucks RFC 1st XV lived up to their billing as defending champions by proving to be too much to cope for the Bedok Kings RFC 1st XV – powering to a comprehensive 28-8 victory. Bedok played their hearts out but the quality of Bucks’ new signings and national players was just too strong for the Bedok Kings in the end.

In the Championship division, 5 games were played at Turf City. Oldham Blues, 3-time runners-up of the Championship, were dealt with another blow this season, this time by the SCC Lions, as they lost 31-0. The game threatened to boil over with a slew of yellow cards dished out to both sides, but the SCC Lions pulled away convincingly in the end. Oldham Blues though, would want to take home the positives from this game – as their intensity was considerably higher than their previous matches. With SCC Tankards 2nd XV going down 8-28 at home to Wanderers Gents 2nd XV, there was also a change at the top of the table as well. Bedok Kings’ bonus point win against Gaulois lent further credence that the Championship race is still far from decided.

The Women’s division is more straight forward, as it is now a 2-horse race between Bedok Kings Skyllas Wolves 1st XV and Blacks Women’s RFC. Both teams racked up a staggering 118 points between them over the weekend. Bedok King Skyllas Wolves put 65 past their sister team Rhinos, whilst Blacks overcame Bucks 53-5. Both games were played in torrential conditions at Yio Chu Kang Stadium and kudos to all the ladies who managed to have their own fun in the rain and mud.

So, a great start as we head into the business end of the season. With national selectors on the lookout for talents across the island, we are guaranteed more top-notch rugby action from all involved in the coming weekends. Can Wanderers hang on to their firm grasp on both the Premiership and Championship divisions? And can the ladies from Blacks catch the Bedok King Skyllas Wolves? Bring on the next round of fixtures already!

Photo Credits: Wanderers RFC