Hong Kong’s Rhinos RFC claim the ANZ Royal Bank Angkor 10s championship Saturday with a 7-0 victory in the grand finals against the Bangkok Southerners
Photo by: Joe Garrison
Nuon Leng (front) of Les Pilliers d’Angkor evades a challenge from a Stade Khmer defender during their TEAMS Bowl final Saturday.
RHINOS RFC, a touring side from Hong Kong, captured top honors, and three Cambodian-based clubs won runners-up trophies in the 2009 ANZ Royal Bank Angkor 10s Rugby Tournament on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.
In a hard-fought defensive struggle, the Rhinos defeated the Bangkok Southerners 7-0 to win the ANZ Royal Bank Cup. Meanwhile, in the TEAMS Bowl Final for fifth place, Les Piliers d’Angkor, an all-Cambodian side and last year’s tournament champions, outlasted compatriots Stade Khmer 12-5. The Phnom Penh-based Sisowath Knights captured the Dan Meats Shield trophy for seventh place, pummeling the Phnom Penh Renegades 32-0.
Rhinos captain Oliver Jones was all smiles at the end of the day as he praised his team’s efforts in the tournament.
“We played the first match at 8am, which was hard for us,” he said. “But our boys never let up all day. It was an excellent tournament, and we were glad to be part of it.”
In the morning preliminaries, the Rhinos blanked Les Piliers d’Angkor 10-0, and drubbed Singapore’s Bedok Kings 29-0 to earn a top seed in their pool. They then outlasted the Saigon Geckos 7-0 in the semifinals to earn their spot in the Cup final later in the afternoon.
Although none of the Cambodian teams in the tournament advanced to the final, Cambodian Federation of Rugby Vice President Philippe Monnin was still pleased by the turnout.
“The tournament [field] was stronger this year, so our players got valuable experience playing against these foreign teams,” Monnin noted. “We had over 50 players participate, compared with 40 last year.”
At the Angkor 10s awards banquet at the Himawari Hotel Saturday night, Stade Khmer winger Bun Thon was honored as the tournament’s most valuable player.
It marked the second consecutive year that a Cambodian player has been honored with the award, which is determined by a vote of tournament referees.
“I am very happy to be recognized for this [award],” said Bun Thon. “It was very difficult playing against these big foreign players today, but I learned a lot, and I hope it will help me become a better rugby player.”
Angkor 10s Tournament Co-chair Peter Maley expressed his delight at the day’s proceedings.
“We had our largest and strongest field ever,” said Maley. “And we had our largest-ever spectator turnout at the stadium as well. We always consider our tournament first and foremost [as] a social thing, but we also end up having some pretty good rugby being played. This year was no exception.”
Other trophy winners included the Saigon Geckos, who captured the Phnom Penh Post Plate (third place) by shutting out the Bangkok Bangers 29-0; the French Asia Barbarians, who won the CFR Spoon (ninth) by defeating the Dubai Exiles 17-10; and the Bedok Kings, who nabbed the Pickled Parrot Egg (11th) by edging the Manila Nomads 5-0.