Temasek Polytechnic men’s rugby team achieves triumphant victory at first home game after 2 years
The game saw Temasek Polytechnic secure a victory of 17-0 over Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
The Temasek Polytechnic (TP) men’s rugby team played their first home game in two years on Jul 26, where they faced Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) in a friendly match ahead of the upcoming Polytechnic-ITE (POL-ITE) competition.
In front of a home crowd consisting of nearly 100 spectators, the TP men’s rugby team secured a triumphant win over NP, ending the game with a score of 17-0.
Apart from the landslide victory, the team’s first home game in two years also produced a handful of memorable experiences, and some valuable insights leading up to the POL-ITE season.
A long awaited opportunity
With the various COVID-19 restrictions that were imposed, opportunities for full-fledged rugby games and tournaments to take place were extremely scarce over the past two years.
As a result, many rugby teams, including the TP men’s team, could only train among themselves.
For TP rugby player Mustafa Kamal, 21, being back on the field made for a very memorable experience.
He said: “I’m very grateful to have been able to play in front of the home crowd, especially since it’s been two years since we played together as a team and in front of everyone.”
Joel Ng, 19, added that this game was also a huge milestone for the team especially because they are known as the “COVID batch” that haven’t had any playing experience in the past two years.
While the TP team put on a good performance against NP to mark their first home game in two years, the victory did not exactly come easy as several of the team’s weaknesses surfaced during the game.
For 21-year-old player Jamian Abdullah, he believes one of the key areas to work on is teamwork.
He shared: “After two years, I feel like it’s a bit tough as we didn’t really get to meet everybody that often, so the chemistry in the team is lacking a little. So we can definitely improve on that.”
Immaculate support from the home crowd
The excitement of the TP rugby team was also matched with that from the home supporters, who were eager to see the team in action.
As it was the first home game in two years, Jamian expressed that it was a great experience to be able to play in front of his friends for the first time.
He said: “I’m grateful that I get to play on our home pitch as sometimes, our friends can’t go over when we play at other schools or fields.
“When we play on our home ground, it’s a much better feeling knowing that people that we care about are watching us play.”
Given that most of the games prior to this were played at different schools and fields, Mustafa added that it was also common for the supporters in those games to be “against” the team.
Therefore, he expressed that it was a “great feeling” to be able to play at home where many spectators are supporting the TP team.
Joel also shared that the home crowd was really loud and supportive and had “benefited the team a lot” in winning the game.
A small step towards a bigger goal
Despite it being a friendly game, it still served a huge purpose in the team’s preparations towards the upcoming Polytechnic-ITE (POL-ITE) competition.
As the current TP team hardly have any game experience, friendlies such as the one against NP gives them a higher form of competition as compared to playing games in training.
Mustafa explained: “Having friendlies helps us identify our weaknesses and strengths, and we can see which players work well in different positions and see which playing style works best for us.”
Jamian also stated that the friendlies allow the team to make up for lost time, both on and off the pitch.
“Every opportunity we get, be it a friendly or a regular match, is considered an advantage to us as we can build up our relationship and chemistry with the team, as well as gain some game experience for the newer players,” shared Jamian.
Given that the TP rugby team had also won the last two editions of the competition in 2018 and 2019, Joel hopes that the current team can “carry on the tradition” and win this year’s POL-ITE competition as well.
Mustafa added: “We have some high expectations to win POL-ITE and make it three times in a row for TP.
“We also want to pave the way for the future generation that are coming to this school.”