The Phnom Penh Social Rugby Club Rahus returned home from Saturday’s Saigon 10s rugby tournament clutching the Bowl Cup, which they had to make do with after critical last-minute changes in the squad cost them the first two games in the group stage.
With the regular fly-half and scrum-half having to pull out on the eve of the tournament, the team management did well to string together a competitive unit though several players had to play out of position.
On top of that, the Cambodian team was drawn in tough pool A, in which the opening encounter against defending Cup champions Hong Kong Scottish resulted in a 0-36 rout. The Rahus played a much stronger game against Bangkok Southerners in the next game but they lost 7-12 to their rivals with the killer blow coming in the final move of the match.
With an early exit beckoning, Rahus finally pulled themselves together to beat the Yangon Dragons and progress to the Bowl Cup semifinals.
The side, nursing injuries and battling the intense day-time heat, played their best free-flowing rugby to put away a spirited China-based Japanese side Shanghai Twin Dragons RFC in the semifinals.
The Bowl final was a showdown against Kuala Lumpur Tigers RFC. Rahus conceded early points but the game swayed back and forth with the Tigers leading 14-10 in the final minutes. But repeated offences by the Tigers and pressure within metres of the try line saw Rahus score the decisive try to win 15-14.
“I’m very proud of the guts that the guys showed after having lost the first two games. Winning a trophy in the end was fair reward. The players come from very different backgrounds, but we remain very close on and off of the field.
That’s our strength and that’s what will continue to bring the club great results in the future,” said Rahus captain Maxime Erteled, who played his final game for the club along with fellow player Aonghus Ó Ceallaigh.