The 16 female rugby players, trained weekly by Franco-Khmer NGO Kampuchea Balopp, returned to Phnom Penh earlier this week after an extraordinary performance.

Taking a 16-hour bus journey to Bangkok on Friday, the Cambodian team played their first game at 6 pm the next day against Chula University. Much more experienced and organized, the local team did not give any opportunities to the Kampuchea Balopp side went away with a 15-0 win.

Fortunately for the Cambodians, after a much needed rest, the next morning saw the Khmer outfit snatch their first win at the expense of the Kuala Lumpur Tigers. After a first try scored by Soth Chanthou, the Cambodian team defended doggedly during the second half and fortunately, the try scored by the Malaysian team at the end of the game was not converted, handing Cambodia its first win.

In their next matchup, the Cambodian’s were humbled by the strong Royal Air Force squad, a team that trains almost every day and has six players from their national team, victors of the last SEA Games.

However, the Cambodians had a chance to regroup and end on a high in their final game of the day against the Bangkok Banger Belles. This was a hugely important game for the coaches who, since the beginning of the tournament, had told the players that it was possible to return Cambodia with two victories.

The first half was extremely tight. No team could break the deadlock thanks to the staunch and well-drilled defense of both teams. However, in the second half, a try scored by winger Soth Chantou after an amazing play by Chun SokPhallin managed to push the Cambodian side ahead.

But the Belles did not want to lose again to the Kampuchea Balopp team after their defeat in the last Bangkok 7’s, and they controlled the ball until the end, pushing hard against the Cambodian defense who valiantly resisted until the end.

The Cambodian’s endured the Belles counterattack to secure a remarkable second victory.

With four games played and a record of 2 defeats and 2 victories, there is optimism for Cambodian women’s rugby as it slowly but surely begins to make its mark in the Asian rugby community.

By Ismail Vorajee - Khmer Times - March 2, 2016


Kingdom’s rugby ladies make splash in Bangkok

Kampuchea Balopp returned to Phnom Penh after coming third in the Bangkok International Rugby Tens tournament. The team, the first Cambodian side to play at this event, consists of players from Pour un Sourire d’Enfant and Sok Sabay Association.

It also boasts two expat players and is supported by rugby-promoting NGO Kampuchea Balopp.

The ladies put Cambodian women’s rugby on the regional map by finishing third in the five-team competition with two victories – a hard-fought 7-5 win over Kuala Lumpur Tigers and a 7-0 whitewash of the Bangkok Banger Belles, who KB also beat in the previous Sevens event.

The sponsors include Phoenix ASEAN Law Firm, IRCO Design & Consulting and Rugby Club Biel Bienne, who helped them participate in Thailand.

The Phnom Penh Post - March 4, 2016