Lao’s U16 girls rugby team, Segantii Lao Nagas, competed in Hong Kong for the first time

By Grant Beuzeval
23rd April
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Rugby 7s provide young women from Laos with opportunities to further develop their rugby and leadership skills

A recent tour to Hong Kong by the Segantii Lao Nagas, an U16 girls team from Laos, initiated by an invitation from the Sandy Bay U16 Girls team and sponsored by Segantii Capital Management, ended in joy and created lifelong memories and friendships for players from both teams.

As a club, we wish to show our utmost respect and gratitude to -

  • Simon Tyrrell (U16G team manager) for initiating and organising the tour with some initial funding and a lot of love
  • Our U16G team for their unconditional support and friendship for the tourists
  • Segantii Capital Management (an important Sandy Bay Community and Mini Festival Sponsor) who came onboard late and provided kit, took the team for a big lunch and made sure that the girls could enjoy the tour without any financial worries

Please read the media release below from the Lao Rugby Federation.

Media Release
The Lao Rugby Federation

Lao’s U16 girls rugby team, Segantii Lao Nagas, competed in Hong Kong for the first time

Hong Kong, 1 April 2019: Segantii Lao Nagas, a U16 rugby team from Laos, concluded their debut in the All Girls International Rugby Sevens Tournament (AGIR7s), with a final title of Bowl Runners-Up and a tie against the Guam Hagan .

It was the first time for the twelve girls to travel outside of their home country and compete at a high level on the international stage at the two-day tournament at King’s Park Hong Kong on the 29th and 30th March 2019.

Results of Segantii Lao Nagas in U16 Division 2 at the AGIR7s

HKFU : Segantii Lao Nagas 17 : 7
HKU Sandy Bay 2 : Segantii Lao Nagas 27 : 10
Haggan Guahan : Segantii Lao Nagas 17 : 17

Players Xiva and Sengdala Phanouvong showed particular strength on the pitch, with strong tackling and ball handling from Xiva and speed from Phanouvong. Players from a local Hong Kong club, the Aberdeen Dolphins, also joined the Nagas to make some incredible plays.

Off the pitch, the trip to Hong Kong was unforgettable for the Lao girls as they were welcomed every step of the way: girls from HKU Sandy Bay made a tunnel for the Lao team every time they finished a game, and they learned how to say 'Go Lao Nagas!' in Lao to cheer from the sidelines. The Lao and Japanese players were trained together the evening before the tournament; and other teams gave them a rugby ball signed by everyone, and brought them koala magnets from Australia.

Player Lay Yar described the trip as an important point for her: “I've got a new friend from another country now. I have learned rugby skills from trainers and from other athletes, who are big and use their strong legs. I liked to visit the mountains and see the beautiful city. I will always remember my new friends.”

Segantii Lao Nagas’ trip to Hong Kong was supported by Segantii Capital Management and Redbox Storage. The team stayed with local rugby families who opened up their homes to them. The support of the Hong Kong community played a key part of making this memorable experience.

Simon Tyrrell, CEO of Redbox Storage, said: “Spurred by my daughter I realised that we often 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. We wanted to give this team of young ladies the opportunity to have the same experiences as teams from Hong Kong had overseas, which for most will be the first time any of them have left their country.”

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 staying safe. 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.

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