With two days of world-class sport and entertainment on offer, including seven varied entertainment experiences for the price of a single ticket, the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens is returning bigger, better and bolder than ever as rugby sevens gets set to rock the National Stadium this Saturday and Sunday.
While the epic on-pitch rugby action remains the focal point of the two-day extravaganza, ticket holders can get into the spirit of the sevens carnival by immersing themselves in the three-day music festival in-and-outside of the stadium.
American disco legends the Village People will have the fans on their feet with classic hits like Y.M.C.A, Macho Man, and In the Navy at 5:30pm on Sunday, but the singalongs don’t stop there with mini-concerts throughout the weekend from four of Singapore’s hottest local acts.
Fans are encouraged to dress to impress to increase their chances to star in the Dance Cam activations and enjoy their 10 seconds of fame!
The entertainment continues long after the rugby has ended as complimentary shuttle buses will be on hand to take revellers to Clarke Quay where Music After 7s will entertain the crowds well into the night.
Billed as the ‘Family Sevens’ event of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, parents can keep the younger set entertained in the all-new immersive, 20,000 square metre FunZone with interactive experiences throughout the weekend at the 100Plus Promenade on level 3 and OCBC Square.
Three of Hasbro’s most beloved brands, The Transformers, Nerf, and My Little Pony, will make their first ever appearance in the Lion City at the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, while top international children’s group The Superdudes perform their many hits like ‘Super Thumbs Up’ at the FunZone stage.
Spartan Singapore and Striders Bikes offer the opportunity for the more energetic kids to emulate their rugby heroes by getting physical at their respective activity zones.
The non-stop activities on-and-off-the-pitch can drain even the most passionate and enthusiastic of fans. In order to keep everyone’s energy levels high, the Makan Hub in stadium is offering an array of international and local delicacies and plenty of beverages to keep the vocal chords in good form.
At the heart of it all is 45 heart-stopping rugby matches featuring the world’s top 16 rugby sevens teams battling hammer and tong as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series calendar comes down to the wire in Singapore, the eighth of ten stops on this year’s circuit.
The drama has been compelling to date with five different winners from the first five events, giving way to 2016 Olympic champions Fiji striking a rich vein of form – winning three of the last four – including the last outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
The Series calendar has imparted a different feel to this year’s tournament following a break in the action for the Commonwealth Games ahead of Singapore. And now the stage is set for another show-stopping Singapore Sevens…
With Canada and Kenya claiming the first two titles could another ‘Surprise Sevens’ be in store in Singapore?
Not if Series leaders South Africa have anything to say about it. A model of consistency over the last two seasons, the defending Series champions are again in pole position on the table ahead of the weekend’s action. After winning the season opener in Dubai last November, the Blitzbokke have yet to finish outside of the Cup semi-finals in the six ensuing tournaments.
12-time World Series champions New Zealand enter the weekend with momentum after their men’s and women’s teams swept the gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, with the men blanking second placed Fiji to top the podium in Melbourne.
South Africa coach Neil Powell commented on his side’s return to Singapore saying, “It is a different challenge for us now after the Commonwealth Games [where they won bronze]. We just need to keep our focus and make sure that we are bringing into the game what we have been training on back at home.”
Fiji coach Gareth Baber also felt the different circumstances ahead of this weekend’s tournament: “Having come here straight from Fiji for the first time in the two years I have been coaching, it really feels like a standalone tournament, which is unique.
“Last year, we came in on the back of winning Hong Kong, but weren’t able to maintain those performance levels here and that was a disappointment. We’re again coming off a couple of good performances and are just working on keeping our consistency and maintaining our performance levels here.”
This weekend marks the Singapore debut of two coaches whose last memories of the Lion City came as players, with New Zealand’s Clark Laidlaw returning for the first time since playing here for Scotland in 2006.
Laidlaw is joined by Tim Walsh, who led the Australian women’s sevens to Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 and Commonwealth Games silver earlier this month, before taking the reins of the men’s seven for the first time starting this weekend.
Both are looking forward to their first experience inside Singapore’s iconic National Stadium.
“2006 was the last time I was here as a player and I still remember the heat. I’m looking forward to playing inside the new stadium, everyone has said it is really unique so I’m excited to play there,” said Laidlaw.
“The demands of the last few weeks has given most of the teams a chance to try and build depth, which is a must. We’re the same and are excited about having a new group here, with five changes from the Commonwealth Games squad.”
Laidlaw was keen to build on New Zealand’s recent success saying, “We’re all chasing the type of consistency that Fiji and South Africa have done so well to build. That has been lacking a bit for us this year, but we knew coming into the season, with new players and coaches, that it would take a bit of time.
“But our team and our country demand that when we compete we win. It’s easier said than done on this circuit, but the new guys are excited and hopefully they’ll bring added energy on the weekend.”
“The last time I was here was in the old stadium in 2002 I think,” said Walsh, who was keen to get stuck in with the men’s side for his first tournament in charge.
“There’s only way to start something and that’s to just jump right in and get a feel for it. My first impressions are pretty awesome, it’s good to be here and I’m just trying to make the transition as quick and easy as possible. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Having the Games at home [Melbourne] and coming here as almost a one-off tournament has helped. Since we were at home we’ve been able to train well and comfortably and our preparations have been good.”
Defending champions Canada are in a different boat, having done it the hard way with the same travelling squad of 14 players on tour playing their third tournament in four weeks – including for the first time this weekend without talismanic former captain John Moonlight who announced his retirement after the Commonwealth Games.
“Its been a challenge,” admitted coach Damian McGrath. “We’ve taken the same players to the party, because that’s the nature of the game in Canada, we don’t have the same strength in depth others do.
“We don’t have the luxury of bringing new players in. We did very well here last season but that was on the back of an injury free year. We’ve had some injuries this year, and suffered a hammer blow with John retiring. It will be the first time in as long as I can remember that he won’t be wearing the red shirt for us.
“So it’s a great challenge for us this weekend and we’re not shirking from it. We’ve been on the road for almost four weeks and this is the culmination of a long trip, but we have been treated royally by everyone here,” added McGrath.
Now the teams will return the favour to the fans as they show off their superb skills and athleticism in contesting the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens crown.
“Welcome to the third edition of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens,” said Mr. David Lim, Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Rugby Singapore.
“Following months of intense preparation, and the hard work of over 500 staff members and volunteers, we are ready to raise the curtain and wow our fans with a sporting carnival like no other.
“Join us in fancy dress, with your family or mates, and experience the magic of rugby. For those who are not yet fans, we urge you to come and see it for yourself. We guarantee you will be converted by the end of it,” added Mr. Lim.
HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, named the International Sports Event of the Year at the Singapore Sports Awards in 2016, is stop eight of the 10-leg HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Tickets are available at www.singapore7s.sg.