Rugby union in Singapore

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Rugby union in Singapore
National stadium kallang sg z.JPG
The National Stadium, which closed in 2007, was used to host many of Singapore's international home matches.
Country Singapore
Governing body Singapore Rugby Union
National team Singapore
First played Late nineteenth century
Registered players 9400 [1]
Clubs 13
National competitions

Rugby union in Singapore is a significant sport that is growing in popularity in Singapore. Singapore is currently ranked 66th, has over 12000 players, with over 2000 women playing the sport. There are also 15 formally organised clubs. [2]

Club Rugby in Singapore is played in 3 divisions - the Premiership, the Championship, and the Conference. School Rugby is also hotly contested over 3 age groups - the C division (under 14), the B division (under 17) and the A division (under 19). There are also a select few schools that have a primary school level rugby program where they contest in the under-12 competition.

Governing body[edit]

The Singapore Rugby Union was founded in 1966, and joined the IRFB in 1988.[2][3]


Rugby was introduced to the British colony of Singapore in the late nineteenth century. It has had a steady presence since the beginning of the 20th century, when the Malay Cup between Singapore national rugby union team and Malaya was established, which is one of the oldest rugby competitions in the world.[4]

However, unlike the other colonial city state of Asia, Hong Kong, rugby has not been quite so successful there. The tragic events of the Second World War, and the Japanese occupation of Singapore also disrupted its growth. Between 1945 and 1991, a regiment of New Zealanders was based there, and during those years, they dominated the game there, to the extent that when they left, the Singaporean rugby scene almost fell apart.[3]

Like some other places, Singaporean rugby's colonial inheritance has proven a hindrance. It is still dominated by white ex-pats from Commonwealth countries, such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand - there are at least twenty such ex-pat clubs.[3] There has been some take up amongst other groups, and there has been a long standing effort to involve the local Chinese population, mainly by Australians Peter Randall, and Andrew Blades.[3]

In 1995, after a heavy defeat at the hands of Hong Kong, the SRU decided to appoint a full-time officer, four part-time development officers and instituted a schools programme.[5] Between 1995 and 1998, over a hundred schools took up the sport.[5]

Singapore has also taken part in an Asian "round robin" tournament between it and Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.[4]

Singapore is an active participant in the Commonwealth Sevens, and Hong Kong Sevens. The now defunct Singapore Sevens was set up as a stand by for the Hong Kong Sevens, should it have declined under Chinese rule.[3]

2019 Rugby World Cup[edit]

In addition to the nine venues located in Japan, one venue each from Singapore and Hong Kong have also been proposed to host five matches respectively.[6] The Singapore Sports Hub, the successor to the National Stadium, with a capacity of 50,000, will be hosting some of the matches.

Singapore Rugby Referees[edit]

Singapore Rugby Referees have performed notably on the international stage, despite the small rugby playing population. Singapore referees have been appointed to referee at International events like the Hong Kong Sevens, the Commonwealth Games, as well as the top Asian Test Matches, such as Hong Kong vs Japan.

Notable Singaporean players[edit]

  • Billy King, rugby player and cricketer.
  • A Vijiaratnam, also represented Singapore in hockey, cricket and football.
  • Rong Jing Xiang, former national team captain
  • Ben Wheeler, former national team captain
  • Jon Lee, current national team captain

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Retrieved 5 July 2009
  3. ^ a b c d e Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1) p74
  4. ^ a b Bath p71
  5. ^ a b A Brief History of Singapore Rugby retrieved 5 July 2009
  6. ^ RWC 2015 /2019: 15 Main Topics & Venues of the Bid of Japan , Japan Rugby Football Union