Rugby slowly restarting across Asia
A number of social rugby clubs in Asia have announced via their social media platforms, that they have resumed rugby training or will do so shortly. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, rugby ground to a halt across Asia in February for most of the region.
Every Rugby Union is dealing with the return to rugby differently and they are following government advice on health and safety, but it’s great to see some clubs are able to play again.
Rugby in China
We had reported last month that some Chinese social rugby clubs had returned to training as restrictions were lifted there first. This is not nation-wide however, but keep tabs on your local rugby clubs across China to see when training might resume.
Korean social rugby
The rugby clubs in South Korea are also back at it, keen to restart the season and get their KERA underway in 2020. The Korean Expatriate Rugby Association league features 4 teams and all seem to be returning to training on the weekend of the 9th May 2020.
- Busan Bandits Rugby Club
- Ulsan Goblins Rugby Club
- Stars and Stripes Military Rugby
- Seoul Survivors RFC
The Korean Touch Rugby Association has also promoted their session from the end of April.
Vietnamese rugby clubs return to training
Saigon Rugby Club
In Vietnam, the Saigon Rugby Club (Geckos) have said that their rugby is back this week, with men and women set to resume rugby practise for the first time in months. They will also kickstart their junior rugby program on the weekend.
The Saigon Rugby Club was due to host the annual Indochine Cup in May 2020, which has had to be postponed. The tournament feature a number of SEA social rugby clubs, including:
- Hanoi Dragons RFC (Vietnam)
- Phnom Penh Social Rugby Club (Cambodia)
- Yangon Dragons (Myanmar)
- Vientiane Buffaloes Rugby Club (Laos)
- Saigon Geckos (Vietnam).
Hanoi Dragons RFC
The northern Vietnamese rugby club, Hanoi Dragons, has also resumed training this week after the Vietnamese governments eased restrictions. The club returns to training on May 9th for contact with touch rugby also returning midweek.
“Training is open to players of all skill levels, and both males and females.”
A number of other nations have seen restrictions being eased in May and Cambodia, Thailand, Laos might all return to the playing field in the next couple of months.
The Taipei Baboons RFC also will return to training on May 7th and even announced their first full game, is this the first game in Asia after COVID-19?
- Saturday 16th May – Baboons v TAS (full match)
Malaysian Rugby on hold
The Malaysia Rugby Union had posted on May 4th 2020 that the “government has decided days ago to give a major change on our movement restriction order, which is to let people go back to their usual working environment, with additional strict guidelines and standard operating procedures to be implemented.
Several sports activities have also been given the green light to be played. But unfortunately, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has clearly stated in his speech that rugby is a big no at the moment, same as any other sports that require physical contact.”
Hong Kong Rugby Union makes cuts
Things in Hong Kong, look less promising, as HKRU CEO Robbie McRobbie told the SCMP that “12 staff members have been let go out of 116 full-time employees, and wide-sweeping financial discussions are still taking place across the organisation to reduce costs and increase revenue during the global pandemic.”
McRobbie added that “he has spoken to a number of rugby unions and they are all in the same boat in trying to right their ships financially.” The Union is dependant on the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Rugby which brings in about 95% of their revenue.
The HKRU has been criticised by some of not having sustainable rugby development plans and they also spend a lot on their Elite Rugby Development programs to try and compete at the top level in 15 and sevens rugby.
It’s unclear in Singapore, Macau, Sri Lanka, India and many more Asian countries when sports and rugby will be allowed to go ahead.
Asia Rugby had ruled out any national tournaments until at least the end of June.
Asian rugby news
- Rhys Jones: Rugby Development in Singapore.
- Steven Rodaway: Singapore Sevens General Manager.
- How has Asian rugby been reacting to COVID-19?
- HK hosts Women and Girls Rugby Conference 2020.