Rugby returned to Phnom Penh this weekend for the ANZ Royal Cambodia 10s tournament played at the Naval Sports Ground in Chroy Changvar, which featured teams from Australia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar.
The Old Bangkok Bangers from Thailand defeated Cambodian team the Shining Rahus 15-10 after extra time in the final.
The format of 10-player teams playing games of two halves lasting eight minutes each offers a halfway point between the physical and tactical 15-a-side game and the fast-running seven-a-side version.
Saturday was an entertaining first day, with the pool games of the main men’s tournament being played as well as non-contact touch matches for mixed teams and an Old Boy’s Tournament for players over 35 years old.
Hong Kong’s Kowloon Dragons won the Old Boy’s event, beating KL Tigers of Malaysia by 7-5 in a close game.
Sunday saw the best teams from the men’s tournament playing knockout rugby for the ANZ Cambodia Cup. The other teams would play off for minor trophies. The first semi-final saw Old Bangkok Bangers comfortably defeat the the multinational French side Asian Barbarians by 21-5.
In the second semifinal the tournament came alive. Local side Shining Rahus took on the impressive Sahoca BDB from Malaysia.
Trailing throughout the match, the Rahus never gave up against skillful opponents and used a solid tactical forward game to create an overlap which allowed them to score a try in the final minute and win 20-19.
If the second semifinal was dramatic, the final was even more so. The Rahus took a 5-0 lead through an unconverted try, then had a second try correctly disallowed as the referee saw a froward pass.
Bangkok pulled themselves back into the game and scored two tries to lead 10-5.
As the game entered the final minutes, the Rahus committed themselves to all-out attack but fierce Bangkok tackling held them out until, again, in the final minute Rahus crossed the line for a try. At 10-10 Rahus had a conversion to win.
They missed, and golden point extra time would decide the game.
Rahus started well, pressing Bangkok in their own half, but an exceptional individual break by the Bangkok No 19 saw him beat several players before running over half the length of the pitch to score the winning try.
In the consolation tournaments INSEAD (Singapore) won the Shield, Palmerston Crocs (Australia) won the Bowl and Saigon Geckos (Vietnam) won the Plate.