The first Cambodian club team to participate in the prestigious Bangkok International Rugby Tens Tournament, returned back to Phnom Penh this Monday with a lot of wonderful images in their heads and the knowledge that they had exceeded everyone’s expectations. The 16 women rugby players, trained weekly by Kampuchea Balopp, did a remarkable job in the tournament last weekend, and finished in 3rd place out of five teams. 4 games played – 2 defeats and 2 victories. Cambodian womens rugby is slowly but surely making itself known within the Asian rugby community.
After 16 hours of bus travel on the Friday the Cambodian team played their first game at 6pm on the Saturday against the Chula University of Bangkok. Much more experienced and organised, the local team did not give any opportunities to the Kampuchea Balopp team to control the ball, and as such, won the game 15-0. On the Sunday morning after a good night’s sleep and with bodies full of energy, the story was much different! In fact, their first game of the day against the Kuala Lumpur Tigers was an amazing battle. After a first try scored by SOTH Chanthou, the Cambodian team defended really hard during the whole second half. Fortunately, the try scored by the KL team at the end of the game was not converted, and that made the first victory of the day for the Khmer players!
Against the Royal Air Force, a team that trains almost every day and have in their squad around 6 players from the national team who won the last SEA Game, the gap was too big. But it gave the opportunity for those young Cambodian players to see what high level rugby looks like, and at the end, even if the defeat was harsh, it helped the team to grow and to prepare for their last game of the day against the Bangkok Banger Belles.
This game was really important for the coaches who, since the beginning of the tournament, had told the players that it was possible to come back to Cambodia with two victories in their luggage. The first half was extremely balanced, no team scored and the defence of both teams was well organised. In the 2nd half, there was again a try scored by the winger SOTH Chantou after an amazing play by Chun SokPhallin, who managed to set up her team mate. But the Belles did not want to loose again to the KB team (after their defeat in the last Bangkok 7’s), and they controlled the ball until the end, pushing hard against the Cambodian defence who valiantly resisted unti the end. The Cambodian will to win was too strong to let the Belles come back, and when the referee ended the game, the happiness of the Cambodian girls was just magic!
We would like to thank our sponsors Phoenix ASEAN Law Firm, IRCO Design & Consulting and Rugby Club Biel Bienne, who helped Kampuchea Balopp participate in this 11th edition of the Bangkok International Rugby Tens Tournament.