By Harry Orgee
PE Teacher and Rugby Coach
For the second week in a row UWCSEA East U19 boys rugby reached the cup final in a strongly contested tournament, but there was so much more that led to the final result. On Saturday, 12 November the team rolled up to Saint Andrew's Junior College in the afternoon aiming to finish the day with two wins from two games. As we soon came to recognise, in order to play well we needed to warm up well. Grueling sprints and passing under the hot Singaporean heat well prepared us for the games that were to come. The first game on Saturday was against the fast, tall, and well trained Sri Lankan team of St Peters College. The East team did not shy away from their first challenge of the day successfully putting up a score of 19-5 in the first half, however fatigue and loss of focus allowed St. Peter’s to get back into the game scoring two tries in the second half. Although East ultimately won their first game 19-15, the errors in our game had been exposed and there was much to work on for the final game of the day. The second game was against the hosts of the tournament Saint Andrew’s, however this time East was prepared. This game there was no contest, but rather a fantastic finish to the day from the East rugby team who won 40-0.
The start of the second day would pose the largest challenge for the boys this weekend as we would play the notoriously strong and well-drilled team of Marlborough College Malaysia. With barely anything separating the two teams the final result was a 19-19 draw. Captain Hugh Goovaerts, set the tone after this game by encouraging and believing in what this team was capable of, whereas Grant Bourdon encouraged this confident yet focused team atmosphere with music pumping throughout the day. For our last group stage game of the day, East was determined to execute everything we had practiced to perfection against local school Pierce Secondary. This was evident, and then some, with a final score of 57-0. This fantastic score allowed East to top their group and play Singapore American School in the first round of the knockout stages.
Singapore American School has always been a block of muscle and an intimidating school to play against. Once again, this did not faze the East rugby team. Through fantastic structure, both offensively and defensively, and arguable the game of his life by Liam Clews (who had a hat trick) East was able to prevail and win the Cup Semi Final 28-7. The final game of the day was upon us and it was extremely fitting that we would be playing Marlborough College in the Cup finals. The team was fired up and ready for the challenge. As the final match stated Marlborough College pushed extremely hard and fast and were able to score two quick tries in the first four minutes of the match. In a sevens rugby match this is an incredible difficult situation to recover from, but East never gives up. By continuously building play throughout the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half East was able to tie the game with only a little time remaining on the clock. However, Marlborough’s size, speed, and execution was too much and East conceded a final try, thus giving Marlborough the win in the U19 Saint Andrew’s Sevens Cup final.
Although, it was no the result we wanted, this tournament showcased how far East rugby has come since the beginning of the year and how much better we know we can become. This tournament will be taken in stride as a building block for better results to come throughout the season. Huge thank you to all the parents, students, and teachers that came down to support over the weekend!