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Ali Kasim
Thursday, Jun 19, 2014

Sports

Rugby stars set to light up National Stadium

The New Paper | Ali Kasim | Thursday, Jun 19, 2014

Auckland Blues player Keven Mealamu (Center).

SINGAPORE - Former All-Blacks scrumhalf Piri Weepu will lead an experienced Auckland Blues squad that's set to compete in the inaugural World Club 10s tournament here this weekend.

The 71-Test veteran will captain a team boasting more than 300 combined Super Rugby caps.

The Blues' backline will also feature Maori All Blacks Jackson Willison alongside outside backs Melani Nanai, Filipo Nakosi and Nick Smith. The World Club 10s will be the curtain-raiser for the new 55,000-seater National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub from June 21 to 22.

Challenging Start

The Blues, who are scheduled to arrive in Singapore today, face a challenging start when they kick off the tournament against French side Biarritz Olympique.

They then face Samoa Water Presidents and London Welsh, who are also in Pool A.

The Asia Pacific Dragons, owned by the organisers of the tournament Carinat Sports Marketing and billed as the "home" side, are drawn in Pool B with the Brumbies franchise from Australia, the Cardiff Blues from Wales and Italian side Petraca Rugby.

The Dragons will comprise of at least one Singapore player, who will be unveiled today.

Welsh internationals Rhys Patchell and Owen Williams are slated to feature for the Cardiff Blues, while Australian international David Pocock - widely considered as one of the best flankers in the world - has recovered from a serious knee injury and will lead the line for the Brumbies.

The eight teams were grouped according to geographical location for the draw, so that no teams from the same area would be in the same pool.

The event will run from 9am to 6pm each day, with 12 Pool matches - each lasting 20 minutes - on Saturday and 12 knock-out matches on Sunday.

As of last Friday, more than 10,000 tickets had been sold for the tournament.

aakasim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 17, 2014.
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