The 2018 National ‘B’ Division Rugby Championship final was played on 28th March between arch-rivals Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St. Andrews Secondary School in front of a packed Queenstown Stadium, and what a nail-biter it was!
The Saints started the match on the front foot, dominating early possession and working their way into the ACS half early on. An excellent line-break down the left flank from Saint’s talismanic centre Umar bin Mohammed Sha’ari almost resulted in an early try for the boys in blue and white, but a determined ACS cover defence put in a last ditch tackle to stop the Saints in their tracks.
This set the stage for most of the match, with Saints sending wave after wave of attack against a stubborn wall of gold and blue. The ACS defence put in a terrific shift, pushing up hard to deny space for the dangerous Saints backline to exploit. This blitz defence paid off, forcing errors and preventing the Saints from building any considerable momentum. Even opting to run the ball out of their own territory instead of kicking possession to the Saints, ACS clearly wanted to keep hold of the ball and starve the Saints runners of attacking opportunities.
The tenacity of ACS paid dividends, and they took their attacking opportunities when they presented themselves. Two well-worked tries either side of half-time by vice-captain Noah Tan and flanker Ryan Tan gave the current champions every chance of retaining their title, but in the end the firepower of the Saints was too much to handle. Saints put on the pressure and ran ACS ragged, earning multiple kickable penalties as ACS struggled to contain their attack. At the third time of asking, star fly-half Nick Nijhof made no mistake, adding to his first-half converted try and earlier penalty kick to bring the Police Cup back to St. Andrews Secondary School, 13 – 10 winners.
With this win the Saints rounded off an unbeaten 2018 season, racking up a perfect 6-0 record on the way to their 51st National School Rugby Title.
Congratulations to all players from each and every team that participated in this years competition with some great rugby played and even better spirit.