Rugby in Korea....Women's League & Touch

by Robin Seila, 21/05/2009

Seoul Sisters Rugby Club vs Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Rugby Team

On May 2, 2009, a cold and rainy day, the Seoul Sisters Rugby club hosted its first International team: Causeway Bay from Hong Kong. The event marked a milestone for the all women’s rugby club, which celebrated its fourth year in May 2009. Both teams played a great game of 15s. If you are new to rugby, you be unaware that there can be different numbers of players on the field depending on what the teams decide to play. In this case, there were 15 players for each team on the field. Both the Seoul Sisters and the women’s Causeway Bay teams compete in 7’s, 10’s, and 15’s. Typically, the lower the number of players on the field, the faster paced the game is.

Causeway Bay brought a team of 17 veteran players, meaning that most played the entire 80 minutes. The Seoul Sisters, brought 22 players, approximately half of which were rookies. The Seoul Sisters were the first to scored, followed by Causeway Bay, a few minutes later. The Seoul Sisters scored one more time in the first half with a fantastic demonstration in teamwork of 8 consecutive passes. The final score was 17-17. Each team came managed to hold off the other in the last exciting minutes of the game. Tackles by both teams near the try line kept either team from pulling away to attain a victory.

The Seoul Sisters will travel to Tokyo, Japan to play an expat team there on June 24, 2009. The Seoul Sisters and the Seoul Survivors plan to collaborate to host the men and women’s teams from Causeway Bay in August of 2009. Both teams are recruiting players. 
Spire Tourch Championship tournament game in Ansan

The second of eight tournaments in the Spire Touch Championship series took place on April 11, 2009. Touch is a sport derived from rugby. It is sometimes used as training for contact rugby because there is a much lower chance of injury. Each team has six players on the field at all times and the object of the game is to move down the field to score a try by touching the ball to the try line in a controlled manner. Members of the opposite team must touch the player with the ball to stop forward progress. Once the player with the ball has been touched, the team on defense must retreat five meters, while the offensive team re-starts the ball by having one player place it under their legs, another picks it up, and passes it laterally or backward to a third player. All passes must be made laterally or backward; forward passes result in a turn over.

Ten teams competed at the facilities in Ansan, south of Seoul. However varied in age, experience, and gender, the teams managed to be very competitive against each other and many firsts occurred throughout the day. The Frogs, a team comprised of French teenage expats, made it to the semi-final for the first time. The Seoul Sisters were able to recruit enough players to enter two all female teams for the first time. Additionally, one of the Seoul Sisters teams made it to the play-offs also for the first time. The team from Yonsei was very short on players and pieced together a team from members of other teams. Despite their shortage of players and cooperation with other players, they did quite well, but were ultimately disqualified for not having enough players. The Internationals and the Ajimas are new teams and are looking forward to playing in the remainder of the Spire Touch Championship. The final four teams, the Exiles, Seoul Survivors, 3 Alley Dutch Rudders, and the Suwon Stormers are experienced teams, that all played very well.

The semi finals consisted of the 3 Alley Dutch Rudders vs the Survivors and the Exiles vs the Frogs. The Exiles managed to squeak out a victory against the Frogs with a try near the end of the game by 13-year-old Johnny Duncan. Johnny Duncan was also the high scorer of the day for the Exiles. In the final, the 3 Alley Dutch Rudders won 5 to 3 with 9 players against 12. Overall, the day was a great demonstration of sportsmanship and fun mixed with athletics.

The next tournament will take place on May 30, 2009 in Gumi. Eleven teams are signed up, so far, and more are welcome to join. Many of the teams will stay overnight, so it will be quite a festival. Transportation from Seoul will also be available.

For more information on joining the teams or attending matches, click here.

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