Thailand's future rugby stars shine
The sweltering weather last weekend failed to stop the country's top under-16 boys and girls teams from putting their all into the 17th Annual Youth Rugby Challenge at Bangkok Patana International School.
Two teams from Hong Kong joined nine of the best boys' and nine girls' teams from across Thailand competing for Cup, Plate and Bowl trophies in each division. The boys played 12-a-side while the girls played Sevens rugby.
After two very hard-fought Cup semi-final encounters, Kings College and Suravittayakarn progressed to the final, where the well-drilled and fit Kings boys produced four tries for a 22-0 win to take the coveted Cup.
The Plate event was won by Kanchanadit from Surat Thani who showed guts and determination of a very high calibre in overcoming a physically strong Bangkok Lions side who led 19-5 into the second half but had no answers to the fast-finishing Surat boys who went on to win 21-19.
The Bowl final was also a tough encounter with Nawaminrachachutis proving deserved 20-5 winners over a tiring boys side from Loeipittayakom.
In the Girls Tournament, Hong Kong Bauhinia were far too strong for the Thai girls, taking both Cup Trophies, while the Plate event saw Thammasart Klong Luang beat an improving Nongya Plong side from Chachongsao 17-7. In a close match the Bowl competition was won by Roi-et, 17-10 winners over the girls from Nawaminrachachutis.
The Rugby Challenge is endorsed by the Thai Rugby Union as a significant step towards preparing for Thailand's possible future entry into the 2016 Olympic Games Rugby Sevens.