There are so many forms of rugby you are certain to find one that suits you to watch or take part in, whether you are young, bold and athletic, or as ancient, timid and knackered as your writer (and publisher – Ed): the original game is 15-a-side but Sevens is booming (see the World Series live on internet – it’s a fantastic spectacle). There’s 10s too, and men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ sections. Don’t want to thump people? Try touch – it’s an internationally recognised sport with rules of its own and can be played by mixed teams.
In Thailand, rugby has been popular for a century, especially at universities and in the forces. Today, it is played by an estimated 14,000 locals and expats, often mixing together in multinational teams. So go on – give it a go! Here are some of the clubs and teams you can join.
THE Phuket Vagabonds came into being over a beer with some like-minded people in 1993. Since then they have been the sole representative of rugby in Phuket. “We still aim to excite both on and off the pitch and always field a team regardless of the opposition,” says club spokesman Pat Cotter. “We have had a bit of a renaissance in the last 18 months, with an influx of dedicated players who have taken Vagabond rugby to new heights and are putting the Phuket Vagabonds’ name back firmly on the map.” Phuket Lomas Rugby Youth Development Program was formed in early 2009 with the aim of helping give underprivileged Thai kids a direction in life through sport and education, with teams from U10s through U18s and often playing host to visiting teams as well as competing in tournaments around the region. The Phuket International Rugby 10s is held at the end of May each year.
Contact: Pat Cotter, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 089 873 1190
Sponsors: Strategic Sports Asia, Athena Siam, The Global Rugby Coach & Asia Center Foundation (a charity the club raises funds
for at the annual Phuket International Rugby 10s every May)
THE Thai Barbarians was formed in December 2011 to allow players from clubs and schools disrupted by that year’s catastrophic floods to continue training and compete in overseas tournaments. The team includes invited players from across Thailand and from overseas, and hopes to live up to the Barbarians’ tradition of playing dynamic, running, and entertaining rugby. This year the team received the official blessing of The Barbarians FC in the UK as a licensed user of the brand name. The Thai Barbarians aim to bring together the most talented local players to train together and enter national and regional tournaments in order to encourage closer links between Thai rugby clubs and schools, increase touring opportunities for youth rugby players throughout Thailand, and promote excellence both on and off the pitch for the future of Thai rugby.
Contact: Sandy Wilson, email@example.com Tel 081 814 4809
Sponsors: The Royal Oak, NCR Rubber,
Jeong Won Restaurant
THE goal of Nak Suu Tigers is to have a lasting impact on the lives of young people through rugby training and life skill development; building trust, hope and self-esteem to equip them to make better choices for their future. These efforts have transformed into a rugby academy, as well as a holistic program, that caters to underprivileged children and youth. These players have come straight out of some of the most difficult places in Bangkok, and by practising rugby and obtaining life skills development, this unique academy has evolved into more than just a game. It is a place to learn about teamwork, a place to make friends, a place to be believed in, and to dream. For some this program has become a place of refuge, but most of all it’s where they can live, learn and grow together. Nak Suu is an initiative to change lives forever.
Contact: Sopo Fakaua, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel 02 745 9755
THE Old Bangkok Bangers grew out of a need to provide a rugby union based social sports club. It started by focusing on the Veterans over 35s team as well as an over 50s team. Today the club includes the Colts under 35s and the Banger Belles women’s team. The Club has developed a strong grounding and identity through its members and their social, sport and business networks throughout Southeast Asia. An active and well-known club, it has members from seventeen different nationalities and its spirit is summed up perfectly in its motto, ‘Fun, Friendship, Fraternity.’
Contact: James Crossley-Smith, email: email@example.com, Tel 081 850 5785
BANGKOK Lions RFC has been an integral part of the Bangkok junior rugby community since 2004, providing a platform for Thai and expat children to experience the camaraderie and sportsmanship associated with the global culture of rugby, with many former players going on to play senior rugby. Bangkok Lions holds weekly coaching sessions to provide members with the skills and tactics to play competitive rugby safely and to have fun while doing it. A key part of the game of rugby is competitive games and Bangkok Lions are an integral part of the annual Bangkok International 10’s competition, hosting the junior section of this internationally renowned event. The Lions have their clubhouse at The Royal Oak in Sukhumvit Soi 33/1 where some lively social events are being planned.
Contact: Rod Kerr, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel 081 870 3646
Sponsors: ACH Management, Arcadia, Sika, JWS, Lawton Asia, Creative Office Solutions
THE Bangkok Japanese RFC was established in 1964, so this is its 50th anniversary year! The club has more than 40 active members who include not only Japanese but also Cameroon, Thai and English players. “We enjoy playing rugby every weekend throughout the year,” says club spokesman Mr Ito. “Also we have Junior (Kids) rugby division, 5 to 12 years old, our boys and girls are enjoying rugby too. Our motto is ‘We enjoy our life through rugby.’”
Adult: Mr. Ito, email: email@example.com Tel 081 865 0228
Junior: Mr. Takeuchi, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 087 062 8997
Sponsors: Samitivej Hospital, The Royal Oak English Pub, Yamatane Corporation Thailand Office
SOUTHERNERS Rugby is the founding team for the broader Bangkok Southerners Sports Club. The Southerners field not only a rugby team but also cricket, netball and touch rugby teams, providing a broad base for people looking to play sport and socialise in Bangkok. 2014 sees the Southerners celebrating its 20th anniversary, with the club competing yearly in the Thailand Rugby Union competition, as well as in rugby tournaments spanning 7s, 10s and 15s formats in Thailand and across the region. Southerners Rugby is home to an extensive list of nationalities from across the globe while also having a focus on fielding Thai players within its ranks. In recent years Southerners Rugby has expanded to include competing in Vets tournaments and embracing Rugby League. Off the field there is an active social calendar with the Southerners Ball, Rugby Club Dinner plus race days and the famous Khao San Road Tour. Achievements include: September 2014 – Semi-finalists, Thailand Rugby Union Competition; February 2014 – Champions, Bangkok International 10’s Vets Competition. Training is held 7.15pm every Thursday at NIST, Sukhumvit Soi 15.
Contact: Darrel Lintott, email: email@example.com, Tel 086 888 5121
Touch Rugby: Linda Belonje, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsors: Island Tribe Sun Protection, Exotic Golf Holidays, Treedom, South East Asian Capital, No Idea Gastro Pub