The newly formed Shining Rahus contact and touch rugby team will face its first competitive stress test tomorrow when they takes the RMIT University pitch in Ho Chi Minh City in its quest to recapture for Phnom Penh the Indochine Cup, last won by a Cambodian side back in 2009. The attractive Cup day card features men’s 10s and mixed-gender touch rugby 8s.
Lively anticipation surrounds the Rahus trip to Vietnam since the team is reviving Cambodian interest in this prestigious event as debutants. For one reason or another, the Kingdom had no representation in this regional rivalry since 2012. The Rahus will compete with Hanoi Dragons, Saigon Geckos and Yangon Dragons RFC from Myanmar, who are making their maiden appearance. One of the events regulars, Laos are staying away from this year’s competition. The 30-strong Rahus contact and touch rugby squad includes eight female players
Marking their formal launch a few weeks ago, the Rahus were involved in a triangular social event involving PSE Garudas and visiting Saigon Geckos. The team has drawn great strength and inspiration from their showing against both the Garudas and the Geckos. In particular, the 7-7 outcome against the Saigon giants has immensely boosted the team’s morale ahead of this trip.
Led by Moses O’Connor of Fiji, and coach and manager Fabien Dutasta, the team has focused on fitness and gruelling sessions of burpies and shuttle runs as well as working on skills and set pieces.
Meanwhile, some late withdrawals have led to the reshuffling of the pack. Coach O’ Connor himself will be unable to accompany the team as he is heading back to Fiji, but he remains optimistic about the team’s chances and abilities.
“Personally, I would expect everyone to have fun and make friends, apply all that’s been done in training, results of which will follow,’’ O’ Connor said.
The mainstream 10s side is captained by Argentinian Ricardo Di Maria who plays scrum half in a side that is shaped by local and players from France, Australia, Switzerland, USA, UK, Fiji and South Africa.
“The Phnom Penh Social Rugby Club of which Rahus come from is a mix of several nationalities aiming to develop rugby for all, men and women, locals and expats,” noted team manager Fabien Dutasta.
“We are going to Ho Chi Minh City with a solid team and a great spirit which should bring a good result on the field” he said