Help the Vientiane Buffalos Rugby Club Tour Xiengkhouang
The Vientiane Buffalos Rugby Club, which has women’s and men’s teams in Laos, have started a GoFundMe to allow their young players to be able to join them on the first tour to Xiengkhouang.
The tour would be the first by any club in the southeast nation to Xiengkhouang. On their online appeal (Click here to contribute!) the club said:
“As you may know, rugby is growing in Xiengkhouang where there is now 3 clubs with men’s and women’s teams. Because of their location, they don’t see a lot of teams going up there, actually, no team has ever toured their province so the Buffs have decided to do a premiere by going up there to play on March 27th!”
If you are able to support the Vientiane Buffalos Rugby Club tour it would be greatly appreciated, and with a modest goal of USD$1,000, the funds will assist with:
- The travel of 20 Lao players from Vientiane to Phonsavan by minivan.
- Accommodation for 20 Lao players for 2 nights.
- Food allowance for 20 Lao players for 3 days.
- Renting of the pitch in Phonsavan for a half-day to host games for more than 50 Lao players from different teams.
Vientiane Buffalos Rugby Club Tour
Agathe Guittard, a member of the club and a player with the Buffalettes, spoke with Rugby Asia 247 about the tour and their goals.
Which clubs are now operating in Xiengkhouang and what is the proposed Vientiane Buffalos Rugby Club Tour?
There are three clubs in the province of Xiengkhouang: Xieng Khouang RFC (in Paek district – Phonsavan city), Bulls (in Kham district) and Elephants (in Kham district).
All of them have both men and women’s teams. The venue will be in Phonsavan (the province capital) with at least the men and women teams from Xieng Khouang RFC.
We’ve also invited the two clubs from Kham districts (about 50km away), it is not yet confirmed if they can join or not. Depending on the numbers of teams joining, it will either be a 1-day competition or just one day with few matches (women, men, junior men).
Why has no team toured there before?
From Vientiane (where most rugby clubs are located in Laos – including our club, the Buffs) to Phonsavan, it’s a 6 hours drive by private car or at least a 9-hour drive by bus or about 1 hour by plane. So it is not easy to get there and it is not that cheap for a Lao person (around USD30$ roundtrip by bus – I won’t even mention plane ticket prices)!.
If I’m correct, Xieng Khouang RFC started competing in Vientiane 10s last year, and the other two clubs started this year so they’re quite new rugby clubs.
They also join the competitions in Vientiane organised by the Laos Rugby Federation when the LRF is able to cover the costs but otherwise they don’t have a lot of money to tour.
And the clubs from Vientiane usually tour abroad (mainly Thailand) or play each other in Vientiane, so usually, the year is already busy with other tours. This year, as we cannot go abroad due to the pandemic, we conceived of this tour to Xiengkhouang. It means we create an opportunity to play rugby for ourselves, but also for the Xiengkhouang team to play and allow them the opportunity to host a visiting team.
Rugby Development in Laos
Can you expand on the Lao players in the club – How do you recruit players and how do you support their rugby (and/or) personal development?
The Buffalos have always been a club of mixed expats and Lao players, with their ratio more or less balanced, depending on the year (you know how these social clubs work!).
In Laos, the ChildFund Pass It Back program develops touch rugby activities in schools and training coaches. In both of our teams (men and women) we recruited a few coaches from this program. They have been playing with us for the past few years and bring in more people from this program to our team. This is an important part of recruiting for our club.
The other part is getting friends of players to try rugby and eventually join in and we do our bit on social media to get the word of mouth out there.
As some of our players come from Pass It Back, we try to include them as “assistant coaches” at our training to develop their confidence in coaching and leadership. We also have some of these players (the older men and women) join our Club Board – so they can learn more about a club’s organisation and administration and it enables them to give their point of views.
Every time we tour abroad, we try to bring at least 2-3 Lao players from each team based on the club budget, so they can discover new places and play rugby in an international tournament. With this Xiengkhouang tour, we’ll bring all the Lao players who want to join, around 20 in total for both women’s and men’s teams.
What excites you and the club about the young and growing talent at the club and in Lao?
Some of our women players joined us when they were 16 years old and now they’re 18. It’s amazing to see them change and have more confidence in themselves, on and off the pitch.
Because of the LRF, who are active and have national teams, it gives club players a target to be able to join the national rugby side, meet international coaches and play abroad, which is exciting for them.
We are lucky in Laos to have an active federation and the Pass It Back program developing rugby in the country – so there is a big rugby community. This provides a great opportunity for the players to participate in events and meet people from different backgrounds (just look at the LRF FB page for all of the things happening for women’s empowerment for example).
It’s providing our players access to many life experiences that would not be possible, without rugby providing a gateway.
Asian rugby tournaments 2021
- Phuket International Rugby Tens 2021.
- Your Guide to the Asia Rugby 2021 Competitions.
- Fat Boy 10s 2021 Hong Kong.
- Emirates Dubai 7s 2021.