Unbeknown to many, 21-year-old Cai Devine was born and raised in Singapore prior to moving to Wales, so the HSBC World Series leg a few weeks back was a momentous moment for the young Welsh sevens player.
Before his big move to the United Kingdom, Devine played rugby for local club Royals Touch and spent most of his free time at the 99 Buona Vista Kitchen with his family.
It was a full-circle moment over the second weekend in April when he appeared at the National Stadium in Singapore playing for his Wales team.
Speaking to The New Paper, he recalled: “It was crazy walking around after we had finished our games and seeing so many familiar faces. Faces that I haven’t seen for years, faces that have been supporting me and my ambition since I was a young boy.
“There were old teammates, younger siblings of friends, friends of friends, old school teachers all in attendance. That’s what made the Singapore Sevens so special for me.”
“Having never lived in Wales, I was always Welsh” 🏴@LlandoveryColl old boy @cai_devine_13 looks forward to returning to Singapore, the country where he was born and raised, for this weekend’s @WorldRugby7s 🇸🇬 pic.twitter.com/nqWBXv5883
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) April 10, 2019
It wasn’t the perfect homecoming for Devine as the Welsh crashed out after finishing third in their pool. However, he scored a try as Wales defeated England 12-0 in a pool game in what was one of the most heart-warming moments of the HSBC World Series this season.
Nonetheless, he enjoyed his weekend back in Singapore as he spent the weekend at Mega Adventure and the Luge before sightseeing around the Central Business District with his teammates.
There was no doubt about what Devine misses most about the country. He explained: “The food. I miss going to hawker centres after school with my mates and having nasi lemak, chicken rice.”
The 21-year-old was born in Singapore after his parents decided to move from London when his father was offered a promotion within the pharmaceutical industry. However, Devine decided to make the life-changing decision of moving to
Wales after graduating from the United World College of South East Asia aged 16 to chase his dream of being a rugby player.
He recalled: “My dream of becoming a professional rugby player started when I was very young, and I knew that if I were to make this a reality, I would have to move away.”
His move has been vindicated, as he has made 71 appearances for the national side since making his debut in the Dubai Sevens two years ago.
Devine concluded: “Playing for Wales has always been my dream and to now be doing it is so surreal. The Olympics are coming up next year, and I think it’d be awesome to give that a good go.”
Photos: Wales Rugby Union