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Cambodian national rugby squad selected

Cambodian national rugby squad selected

Photo by:

JOE GARRISON     

The Cambodian national rugby team - "The Koupreys" - line up for a team photo March 1 with head coach Peter Maley (back left).   

TEAM SELECTION

  1. Chro Kim Seang - Prop
  2. Uk Dara - Hooker
  3. Koeut Sovanraksmey - Prop
  4. Ralph McMillan* - Lock
  5. Robert Baker* - Lock
  6. Vong Vannak - Flanker
  7. Ut Vuthy - Flanker
  8. Chey Sophal - No. 8
  9. Pich Ratana - Half Back
  10. Chan Samedi - Fly Half
  11. Sam Chanphearom - Wing
  12. Francois Bleriot* - Center
  13. Vannak Vireak - Center
  14. Bros Sophorn - Wing
  15. Nheb Rotha - Fullback
  16. Hang Sophea Noreak - Prop
  17. Choeng Veasna - Lock
  18. Koy David - Utility Back
  19. Phorn Bophan - Half Back
  20. Nong Sovanrado - Lock
  21. Lach Sopheara - Utility Back
  22. Lim Pun Pov - Utility
  23. Kham Saroeun - Center
  24. Tea Sunarith - Utility

 * indicates expatriate players
Head Coach:   Peter Maley

Assistant: Andrew Newman

THE Cambodian Federation of Rugby announced Thursday its final selection of players for the 2009 Cambodian National Men's Rugby Team, the "Koupreys", for the upcoming HSBC Asian 5 Nations Regional Tournament, which will be held March 21-28 in Savannakhet, Laos.

The week's competition, sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB) - the world governing body of rugby union football - and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), will feature test matches between national teams from Cambodia, Brunei and Laos.    

The 24-man Kouprey roster features 13 members from last year's squad, and also includes 3 expatriate players who are eligible under the IRB's 3-year residency requirement.

Australian Peter Maley, who last year served as the Koupreys' backs coach, takes the head coaching reins this year.  He will be assisted by New Zealander Andrew Newman.

Maley is cautiously optimistic about his team's chances in the upcoming competition in Laos.  

"We've got the makings of a pretty fair side, with a strong and mobile front five, quick and aggressive loose forwards, and a back line with a good mixture of experience and youth," said Maley.   

"But we've got a lot of new guys this year, and they're all going to have to step up for us to do well."

Eight players on this year's Kouprey roster will be making their international debut in Laos, and the new Kouprey coach believes the youngsters gained valuable experience playing in the Cambodia Rugby Premiership this year.

"Competing in the [Premiership] with older and more experienced players has really raised these guys' game," added Maley.  "That's why they were selected."

The PSE Garudas, currently the top club in the Premiership, lead the way with 12 players selected, followed by the Sisowath Knights with 7, Stade Khmer with 3, and Siem Reap with 2.

The Koupreys will depart Phnom Penh on March 25 and will play their opening match of the tournament against Brunei at 8:30pm that evening.  They face hosts Laos on Saturday, March 28 at 8pm.  All games will be played at Savannakhet National Stadium.

Brunei meets Laos in the tournament opener on March 21.

The Koupreys will attempt to rebound from their woeful showing in last year's regional competition in Jakarta, where they fell to Laos 30-0, and Indonesia, 55-3.    

Brunei, relegated this year from the Division III level of the Asian 5 Nations, replaces Indonesia in this year's regional in Laos.   

The Indonesians have been promoted to the Division III competition in Manila on July 1-4, where they will join Guam, Iran, and the Philippines.

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