Singapore build up to WRWC qualifiers
With Asia's qualifying tournament for Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 fast approaching, Singapore got their preparations off to the perfect start at the weekend with a 63-0 victory over Malaysia.
At the beginning of November, Singapore will take on Japan for the right to play either Hong Kong or the region's leading women's nation Kazakhstan for the one place left at Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 in England next August and September.
The other 11 places have already been filled by defending champions New Zealand, hosts and 2006 runners up England, France, Canada, South Africa, USA, Ireland, Wales, Sweden, Scotland and Australia.
Singapore may have run out convincing winners, scoring 11 tries in the victory, but head coach Sam Chan knows that their encounter with Hong Kong on Saturday will provide a sterner test and idea of what they still need to work on ahead of the November qualifiers.
One concern for Chan will be the broken finger suffered by hat-trick hero Leung Wai Mun in the victory over Malaysia, the full back having undergone surgery on Sunday to leave her participation in the qualifier on home soil in doubt.
Malaysia hungry for more
From Malaysia's perspective, the defeat may have been heavy, but there was still plenty to smile about on the occasion of their first ever Test match and captain Lim Chin Wei insists the side will learn from the experience.
"The biggest hurdle was initially changing the mindset of Malaysians in general about ladies rugby and its potential," said Lim. "I hope the MRU (Malaysia Rugby Union) will continue its support and take ladies rugby in Malaysia to bigger and better things - more tournaments, more friendly and Test matches.
"Everyone took back a piece of experience. Overall, the Test match was a first for us and we are embracing it and hope to do better next time round."
Singapore, though, are not alone in stepping up their preparations with opponents Japan having returned from a two-match tour of Canada where they were beaten 25-24 by Burnaby Lake and 38-0 by a BC President's XV featuring a number of Canadian internationals.
The Asian qualifier for Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 will held in the build up to the annual Singapore Cricket Club Sevens with the hosts' match with Japan and Hong Kong's with Kazakhstan played at Republic Polytechnic on 4 November and the finals at The Padang two days later.
Reporting by www.scrumqueens.com.