Written by: Roy Simson

Three former members of the Jakarta Komodos Juniors played in the recent Indonesian National Rugby 7s Championships in Solo, Central Java.

The event featured men’s and women’s teams from 12 provinces and took place over July 2-3 at Solo’s Banyuanyar Field. The competition was seen as a selection trial for Indonesia’s national squads ahead of the Asia Rugby Sevens to be held in Jakarta over August 6-7, as well as next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

Aldi Manoppo was one of the boys from Mama Sayang Orphanage, which provided players for the early years of the Komodos Juniors. He was part of a memorable victory in the Bali 10s and also featured in strong performances in Singapore and Malaysia. As a speedy center, he added many points to his teams’ scores over the years. In 2019, Aldi returned to his home province of East Kalimantan, where his background in rugby made him a natural for selection in the province’s fledgling men’s team.

One of the highlight of the this year’s National Championships was the Eastern division final between East Kalimantan and Bali. The solid team from Bali were hot favorites to win, yet in a thrilling upset, Aldi and his teammates scored the first try and then another. With fierce determination and grit, they kept Bali scoreless in the first half, eventually running out winners 15 to 5.

In the women’s division, there were two Komodos players. Emy Girsang, who started with the Komodos Girls team back in 2015 when she lived at Mama Sayang Orphanage, played for the Yogyakarta Women’s team, which came second in the Eastern division. Pat Simson, who joined the Komodos in 2017, played for West Java Women’s team, which came second in the Western division.

The star of the championships was Jakarta DKI, winning overall in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Local rugby was also a star, with Indonesian Rugby Union (PRUI) putting on a great weekend of memorable matches. Upcoming national rugby competitions are expected to be even stronger as more provinces invest in developing their squads for the various rugby events in Indonesia’s 2024 National Games.

The success of three members of the Komodos Juniors’ family in the National 7s Championship is a source of great pride to the club. Thanks to our dedicated sponsors, organizers and volunteer coaches, these three youths gained the necessary skills and self-discipline at the Komodos, giving them the opportunity to become provincial-level athletes, even up for national consideration.

After more than two years of setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Komodos Juniors are looking forward to the upcoming season, which starts in mid-August, ready to develop the next players for regional tournaments and national competitions. Most of all, we are looking forward to the excitement, friendships and fun that are integral parts of the Komodos Juniors extended family.