Sunday 14th December saw a collaborative and busy day of rugby as Lycée Français René-Descartes & International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) organized the first School and Youth rugby Day with Kampuchea Balopp assisting the organization of the event.
Kampuchea Balopp works with all the NGO’s and schools present at the first Schools and Youth Rugby Day of the season. The morning saw Under 7, 9, 11 and 13 kids from Kampuchea Balopp partners PSE, ISF, CCF, Taramana, Aspeca, & Our Home along with Lycée Français René-Descartes students mix in social rugby activities enabling them to practice their rugby skills, make new friends and get some great exercise.
The cooler weather conditions was favorable to the kids being able to practice their tackling on tackle bags and each other as well as improve the ball skills and learn invaluable lessons from the coaches and volunteers. The morning also allowed the kids to mix and interact similar to the grassroots rugby days initiate by Kampuchea Balopp earlier in the year. With around 200 kids aged between 6-13 years old in attendance it was a successful turnout!
After a midday break to avoid the intense heat of the day, the afternoon saw competitive matches in Under 15’s with teams from Krousar Thmey, PSE and a mixed Lycée Français René-Descartes/Aspeca/ISPP team play a round of tag rugby! The competition was fierce and fair and it’s great to see that Krousar Thmey team (all with hearing impairments or deaf) could compete equally with the other teams, losing narrowly 3-1 to PSE (the strongest team on the day) and drawing with the combined Lycée Français René-Descartes/Aspeca/ISPP team.
This was followed by Under 18 round robin games between the 4 boys teams (Lycée Français René-Descartes- Stade Khmer, ISPP and PSE) and in the Girls section 4 teams from (Lycée Français René-Descartes, ISPP, PSE and Sok Sabay). The games were the first competitive games of rugby most the kids had played for several months but the determination, quality and spirit was still fantastic!
In the Boys division Stade Khmer and Lycée Français René-Descartes went unbeaten while ISPP and PSE couldn’t avoid narrow defeats in their games. Some terrific talent on display, wonderful tries and a bright future.
In the girls section, PSE remained dominant and continue their strong form from last season when they were crowned champions in Cambodia. Strong contenders however to them were the Lycée Français René-Descartes team who also went unbeaten and a showdown is imminent! ISPP and Sok Sabay, both relative newcomers to the sport with a lot of novice players also showed great character and remained positive despite their defeats.
Thanks to the schools for organizing, all the children, volunteers and parents, and organisations for making the day a success as well as Gilbert Southeast Asia for the new rugby balls and we look forward to the next event in early 2015.