Vol. VI No. 23 - Tuesday
July 31, - August 6, 2007

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Plans for 13th Bangkok International Rugby Sevens announced

Plans for 13th Bangkok International Rugby Sevens announced

Alan Parkhouse
This year’s Bangkok International Rugby Sevens tournament is shaping up as one of the best on record with at least 20 teams confirmed or registering strong interest, new sponsors and a very competitive women’s and junior competition alongside the main men’s competition.  Teams from at least 12 countries have already entered this year’s tournament, which has become one of Asia’s leading club rugby fixtures since it first kicked off in Bangkok 13 years ago.
The good news for tournament organizers this year is the addition of property developers Raimon Land Public Company Limited as the title sponsor. Raimon Land is well known in Thailand for supporting a number of big sporting events, particularly the renowned Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.
This year’s event, to be held from October 26-28 at the Police Stadium and the Bangkok Patana School grounds, will feature four teams of indigenous Australians. Two from the Lloyd McDermott Trust, a foundation set up to help disadvantaged Aborigines in Australia, who will field a men’s and a women’s side, the Darwin Dingoes and the Darwin Drifters both from the Northern Territory, with a men’s and women’s side respectively.
Zimbabwe’s national team could well be a surprise entry if sponsors can be found to help get them to Bangkok. Because Zimbabwe is not a core member of the IRB Sevens Circuit, finding top-level tournaments and competition is a problem for the team. It is understood negotiations are still underway, but Bangkok Sevens organizers are hoping the Zimbabweans can find their way to Thailand.
There are also teams coming from rugby powerhouses New Zealand and Australia, as well as sides from around the region. Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and even the tiny Pacific island of Niue (population 1,600) will be represented at this year’s Bangkok Sevens.
Hosts Thailand will be well represented with at least six sides entered in the men’s competition – the Southerners, British Club, Thai Police, Kasetsart Alumni, Mahasarakham University and the Chiang Mai Suas.
Around 10 teams have entered the women’s competition and big things are expected this year from regulars Yala IPE, a team from the troubled southern region who have been assisted to play in the Sevens for the past few years by architectural firm Woods Bagot (Thailand). Yala will be joined by teams from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and local Thai women’s sevens sides in Royal Thai Air Force, Bangkok IPE and Suphan Buri IPE Colleges.
Apart from providing a fun weekend for rugby fans and an exciting competition for teams, the Bangkok Sevens is also a nurturing ground for the sport in Thailand.
Tournament organizer David Dufall, who has been staging the event since 1995, said: “Looking back, perhaps the most important aspect of the tournament has been the introduction of the boys’ division, which is now at under-15 level playing 15-a-side rugby.
“The boys’ division, called the ‘Rugby Challenge’ will be played on two pitches at the Bangkok Patana School, and it’s wonderful to see the future of our sport in action during the Bangkok Sevens every year. Apart from Vajiravudh and King’s Colleges there has long since been strong junior rugby centres in Surin, Mahasarakham, Roi-et, Chiang Mai, Lopburi, Surat Thani and Krabi and these boys need every opportunity and encouragement to show their skills”.
This year a major sponsor from the United Kingdom, Xpotential Global with offices in Yannawa, has committed sponsorship funds to stage the junior boy’s tournament and organizers are grateful for their support.
The annual Bangkok Sevens has become a fun event for both touring sides and the many rugby fans in Bangkok and surrounding areas. The tournament features non-stop action on the field, plus a party atmosphere in the big grandstands at the Police Stadium, where the main men’s competition is held.
While the fast-paced seven-a-side rugby action takes place almost non-stop on the field for two and a half days, spectators will be able to dine on a wide array of dishes washed down with an equally wide array of liquid refreshments, all of which will be available at the Stadium.
The Bangkok Sevens is now recognized as one of Asia’s leading rugby tournaments and this year’s event promises to be a showcase for a sport that has already gained huge popularity around the world, and with the French-based Rugby World Cup to be played out in September and October this year, 2007 will be a big year for rugby.
For more information on the annual Bangkok Sevens, go to the website at www. bangkoksevens.com

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