“I think a trip like this will benefit the girls by giving them a unique opportunity to see the world, meet new people and play a game they love in an international context. Playing rugby has helped me develop as a person and I am grateful for the opportun”
Sarah Macpherson - Sandy Bay U16G Player
The HK Sevens week brings with it many magical experiences on and off the field.
Sandy Bay RFC , through the U16 girls team, have partnered with club Community and Mini Festival sponsor, Segantii Capital Management, to create an opportunity for a group of girls from Laos that will surely provide a lifetime of friendships and memories. The journey started with applying for passports for the team and will culiminate in a Hong Kong rugby adventure of epic proportions.
Sandy Bay U16G Team Manager, Simon Tyrell had this to say, "The HKU Sandy Bay U16’s girls’ team has had a terrific season this year. Whist very diverse in personalities, the girls really gelled both on and off the pitch resulting in us loosing just one game in the 15’s season and taking the cup for both Division 1 and Division 2 7’s league. We believe this is in no small part, due to the personal growth experienced in touring to Singapore for the last few years, during which the team got the opportunity to truly appreciate the joy of rugby on the international stage. I met the Laos senior team last year when they were in Hong Kong and was really impressed by them. Spurred by my daughter Poppy I realised that we take for granted all the opportunities that we have. These girls from Laos have been introduced to rugby as a chance to escape the hardships of their day to day life. Simply, we wanted to give this team of young ladies the opportunity to have the same experiences that our team had in Singapore which for most will be the first time any of them have left their country!"
We salute the inspiring efforts of Simon and the U16 girls team plus the terrific support of Segantii Capital Management in making this dream come true for this group of young ladies.
Full Media Release from the Lao Rugby Federation:
Segantii Lao Nagas to play in All Girls International Rugby 7s
25 March, 2019, Vientiane, Laos: In a historic year for rugby in Asia, the rugby community in Hong Kong has come together to give the Segantii Lao Nagas, a U16 team from Laos, an opportunity to compete in the World’s Largest All Girls Rugby Tournament.
For Sandy Bay RFC, late March is all about rugby — from the excitement leading up to the Hong Kong Sevens to their own preparations for the All Girls International Rugby Sevens, an all-female youth rugby tournament that brings together teams of girls from around the world for two days of fierce competition at Kings Park. It’s a unique opportunity to play with and against other inspiring young women - and this year, with the support of Segantii Capital Management and RedBox Storage, Sandy Bay RFC has given that opportunity to a new team from Laos: the U16 Segantii Lao Nagas.
For the last several years, rugby in Laos has been on the rise — growing from 300 registered players in 2015 to over 3,000 registered players today. This growth has stemmed largely from the success of its youth rugby programming, which focuses on the ChildFund Pass It Back rugby and life skills curriculum. Young coaches, aged 16-25, from rural and urban Laos teach players key rugby techniques alongside important discussions about gender, leadership, financial literacy and preventing violence. With a 56% female coaching force, female participation in rugby in Laos is among the highest in the world.
The players that make up the Lao Nagas were introduced to rugby through the Lao Rugby Federation’s Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back programme. Many U16s Nagas players are still in the program as tag players or Coaches, working to delivering the ChildFund Pass It Back rugby and life skills curriculum to teams of 11-16-year-olds in their own communities. The opportunity to participate in the All Girls Rugby Tournament is, for most, their first opportunity to travel outside of their home country, and to compete at a high level on the international stage.
For rugby enthusiasts, this exchange is representative of a larger trend: growing the sport of rugby in Asia. Rugby World Cup 2019, hosted by Japan, will be the first played on the continent and to coincide with this historic year, World Rugby has named ChildFund Pass It Back as the official charity partner of Rugby World Cup 2019 and as a part of its larger Impact Beyond 2019 initiative. With this support, ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches in Laos, Vietnam, Timor Leste and Philippines are busy delivering their weekly rugby and life skills sessions to more than 5,000 registered players and competitions like the All Girls International Rugby 7s provide young women from Laos with opportunities to further develop their rugby and leadership skills through this introduction to long term playing pathways.
The Lao Rugby Federation will be honoring the long-standing partnership between Hong Kong and Lao Rugby with its annual Friends of Lao Rugby in Hong Kong Celebration, to be held on April 2 and Oolaa in Central Hong Kong. The night serves as an opportunity for rugby enthusiasts from Hong Kong and abroad to meet players from Laos, including the U16 Segantii Lao Nagas. Speakers will share their experiences with rugby in Laos, and the night will conclude with a traditional Baci ceremony, a traditional Lao ceremony that celebrates different points in life and fosters community by providing good wishes to everyone, which concludes by tying bracelets onto the arms of others to wish them well. The event is free and open to the public.
Following the All Girls International Rugby 7s, thanks to the support of ChildFund Pass It Back, Laureus and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Community Foundation, the U16 Lao Nagas will stay in Hong Kong to experience rugby at the top level. During the week the Lao team will be joined by several ChildFund Pass It Back players and Coaches from Vietnam and will get the chance to meet international rugby stars, play a curtain raiser for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier and take in the world renown HSBC Hong Kong 7s.
Many thanks to all of the LRF’s sponsors and supporters who have made this trip possible and be sure to follow the LRF’s web and social media accounts to get the latest information about the team and tour.
Updated 09:29 - 23 Apr 2019 by Grant Beuzeval