HKFC U14 GIRLS TOUR

08 May 2018

Building on the success of their U12 Girls tour to Bangkok last year, the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) U14 Girls embarked on a ground breaking first ever tour to Laos between 27th April and 1st May 2018 to take part in the 2018 U14s Champa Ban 7s Championship. The tour marked the first time that a youth team from Hong Kong has gone to Laos, and only the third time that a team from HKFC has travelled to Vientiane to compete. 


On Friday 27th April 2018, a very excited tour party of players plus coaches and parents, including five Po Leung Kuk players and their two escorts, who were sponsored by HKFC, arrived in Vientiane raring to go. After checking in to the hotel the tourists attended an orientation session conducted by the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) where they learned about Lao Rugby and the youth rugby ChildFund Pass It Back programme (https://childfundpassitback.org/) which is doing wonderful work in Laos. ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development programme led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia.

 

After a very informative session which showcased the remarkable achievements of the programme and Lao Rugby, the girls headed to a local school to participate in a ChildFund Pass It Back session and experience the rugby and life skills learning of some of the local Lao players first-hand. This was a great opportunity for all the players to get to know each other and experience each other’s culture.

The next day saw the girls meet the Lao players that they would be competing against in the Champa Ban Championship. All the teams met at the Chao Anouvong Stadium where they formed mixed teams for joint training and team building activities. The activities were led by the LRF coaches who did a marvellous job in bonding all the players together. This was followed by a fun scavenger hunt organised by the LRF at the beautiful That Luang Park. In the evening, the girls returned to the Chao Anouvong Stadium where they were treated to a great display of senior men’s and women’s rugby by the Vientiane Buffalos, Wild Hogs, Tigers, Buffalettes and Lions who were competing in a domestic 10s and 7s competition.

 

Sunday saw a return to the stadium for the tournament itself in which six U14 Girls teams were entered. Two from HKFC, Ice and Fire, the Vientiane Dragons coached by Lao Khang, Vientiane Lizards coached by Viengsamai Souksavanh, Vientiane Monkeys coached by Boudsadee Vongdala and Xieng Khouang RFC coached by Aeng Khang,, which had made a 12-hour road trip to play in the competition. In parallel to the girls tournament, there was also a U14s Boys competition comprising Team Super RFC coached by Vannaxay Somsuthi, the Vientiane Barbarians coached by Pisa Vongdeunpheng, Vientiane Ninjas coached by Olo Sansayya, Vientiane Hanumans coached by Savanhxay Xayyasone, the Islanders coached by Noy Phonesak and Xieng Khouang Red Bulls coached by Yur Ha, who had also made the long journey to the capital to play.

 

What followed was a magnificent display of top class competition with all the teams playing good hard rugby but even more importantly, playing in the true spirit of friendship and respect. In the Girls competition after a very exciting series of group games the finalists lined up as the Monkeys and Dragons competing for the Bowl, Xieng Khouang and Lizards for the Plate and HKFC Ice and Fire for the Cup.

 

Before the finals kicked off, there was an exhibition game between a Lao Girls All Star team and a HKFC Select team. In a close hard fought game, the HKFC girls just managed to edge it, though the performance of the Lao girls was all the more remarkable considering that they had only taken up contact rugby in the past few months specially to compete in this tournament, testament that the future of contact rugby in Laos for Girls at this age group and onwards looks very rosy indeed.

 

After a very hard fought day of 7s rugby in both the Boys and Girls competitions, which saw some fantastic games, the Boys Finals saw Super RFC beat Hanumans to lift the Bowl, whilst the Ninjas went past the Red Bulls to win the Plate and the Islanders saw out the Barbarians to win the Cup.

 

 

In the Girls Finals the Bowl Final saw the Monkeys beat the Dragons whilst in the Plate Final Lizards edged Xieng Khouang to claim the silverware. For the Cup, this was decided in a very tight final between HKFC Ice and HKFC Fire in unexpected wet and muddy conditions. In what was a very evenly matched game, Fire went ahead through a great run and try from Michelle Ho, which Charlie Peters converted. Towards the end of the first half a powerful surge from Ice’s Olivia Hanna saw her crash over to score a well deserved try, though Eulalie Rioual narrowly just missed the conversion. The second half saw both sides battling it out and creating chances though neither was able to cross the line and at the final whistle the score remained 7-5 in favour of Fire. The day ended with a presentation ceremony followed by a traditional Lao Baci, which was a fitting end to a brilliant day.

 

The tour was a great example of the spirit of rugby at its very best and massive thanks must go to everyone at the LRF, and their sponsors DAC Management, DHL and Coca Cola, for their organisation of a first class tournament and tour, especially LRF’s Megan Knight, Pisa Vongdeuanpheng, Stephanie Kim, Galen Erickson, Viengsamai Souksavanh, Lao Khang, Anoulek Douangdala and last but not least, Soulisa Souwatidphon who did a wonderful job as the LRF liaison officer to the HKFC teams. The LRF showed itself to be a highly professional and dedicated outfit that is doing a remarkable job in the promotion of rugby in Laos. All in all, it was a weekend of very special memories for all involved in which the girls did their Club and Hong Kong proud.

 

 

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