You might not automatically think of rugby when you think of Singapore;  one is a gruelling outdoor sport, comprising 90+ minutes of exhausting physicality tempered only by the fact that it’s generally played in winter months in cooler climates; the other is a searing hot urban state, located almost right on the Equator, where the only respite from the heat are the occasional torrential downpours which turn storm-drains into mini-rivers, and playing fields into swamps.

And yet Rugby has been played in Singapore since soon after the arrival of Stamford Raffles in 1819, with non-uniformed expats making up the fixtures throughout the rest of the 19th, (and a good chunk of the 20th) century. The nation has had its own Rugby Union team since 1972, and now even hosts the annual Rugby Sevens. Clearly the climate has little bearing on the sport’s enjoyment here – as evidenced by the abundance of rugby clubs for children. So if you’re interested in becoming a rugby parent – or are already one and are planning a move to Singapore – then read on to discover four great options available for your budding Jonny Wilkinson / Kendra Cocksedge…

Centaurs Rugby

Centaurs started in 2002, making it the first junior rugby club for children in Singapore. Accepting both boys and girls from as young as 3 – up to 17 – the club’s pitches are behind the Grandstand at Turf City, with training – a torrent of energetic navy and gold – taking place on Saturday mornings.

Centaurs is somewhat unusual amongst Singapore’s rugby clubs in that it has branched out into other sports, offering touch football and netball training as well as hosting “military-style” obstacle course parties for children, and off-road cycling and trail-running facilities. In addition, it holds multi-activity holiday camps, which are hugely popular with children – primarily because of their renowned Mud Pit (which does exactly what it says on the tin…)

For rugby alone however, it’s a great club option, and joins the other clubs in the many local and international tournaments throughout the year.

Fees: All new members pay $135 / $175 for a Newcomers Kit Package, and coaching fees range from $297 – $418 for the first term in 2018 (prices for later terms are not yet available), depending on the team category.

Contact:  www.centaursgroup.com/rugby/   +65-64689851

Singapore Cricket Club

Don’t be misled by the name – Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) is a prominent rugby club here. (To be precise, the rugby academy falls under the umbrella of the Cricket Club; however, almost everyone refers to it simply as SCC.) The rugby academy was started in 2012 – making it a relatively new club, but one which has grown enormously in popularity in a short space.

The academy encourages its children – aged from 2 to 17 – to “Respect all, fear none” – a motto which you’ll certainly see in action as the energetic children in their black and gold kit take no prisoners on the pitch! Membership is open to both members and non-members of the Cricket Club, and training takes place on Saturday mornings at Dempsey for all teams, and on Thursday evenings for U11-U16s. (There is also training for the touch teams on Sunday mornings.)

It also offers a variety of sports options to members, under the umbrella of Cricket Club, namely football, tennis, and hockey – as well as, of course, cricket.

SCC doesn’t only cater to children – it also has a prominent adults club, which even provides players for Singapore’s national squad! Its U17 team operates as a feeder team to senior squads – the only club in Singapore to offer this programme. So if your child has his or her sights on a career in rugby, s/he’ll be in good company at SCC Rugby.

Fees: All new members pay a one-off registration fee of $75 (which includes kit) and coaching fees range from $160 – $350 a term, depending on the term length and the team category. (Note that there is a discount in fees for children who are already members of the Cricket Club.)

Contact:  www.sccrugbyacademy.com  +65-63389271

Tanglin Rugby Club

The third in the trio of Big Junior Clubs in Singapore, Tanglin Rugby Club (TRC, as it’s known) welcomes players from 4 years up, to its grounds at Turf City on Sunday mornings.  (Note that these are not the same grounds as Centaurs use – there’s a short distance keeping the rivals apart!) TRC is dedicated to creating community amongst its rugby players, and invites members and their families to involve themselves in the running of the club, which is entirely volunteer-based.

TRC kids stand out on the pitch – and not only because of their striking black and red kit.  The coaching focuses on sportsmanship, friendship and team spirit “whilst fostering the need for commitment and competitiveness” – and this shines through in the young players’ abilities.

The club is also prominent in hosting tournaments to teams across the region, who in particular vie for glory in the renowned annual TRC Cup.

As well as contact rugby, with teams from U5 – U17, it also offers touch rugby for U8 – U19s, and like all the clubs is open to boys and girls.

Fees: All new members pay a one-off joining fee of $150;  thereafter, coaching fees range from $275 – $330 for the last term in 2017 (prices for later terms are not yet available), depending on the team category.

Contact:  www.tanglinrugbyclub.com

Titans

There are several smaller clubs here, of which Titans is the best known.  A relative newcomer to Singapore’s rugby scene, Titans started its club in 2014.  Members train at UWC grounds in Dover, where Titans also hosts Yoga and Bootcamp sessions for kids and parents alike. The teams fall into one of three categories: Mini (U6 – U10), Junior (U11 – U14) and Senior (U15 – U18), with the U6 teams welcoming players from as young as 5.  The teams train on Sundays and the boys and girls are obvious from afar in their gold, blue and burgundy kit.

Titans states that it has an emphasis on fun, fitness and family.  What really sets it apart from other clubs however, is its commitment to nurturing community integration: while most of the kids’ rugby clubs predominantly serve Singapore’s expat community, Titans waives its membership fees for local children. As a result, about 50% of its members are Singaporean.  So if you want your children to have an opportunity to get out of the expat bubble and create local bonds, then Titans is the club for you.

Fees (for non-Singaporeans only): All new members pay a one-off joining fee of $50 thereafter, coaching fees are set at $150 a term.

Contact:  www.facebook.com/TitansRFCSingapore