Indonesia’s first junior rugby tournament labelled ‘Stunning Success’ after 2017 Bali Junior Rugby Tournament
The very first junior rugby tournament in Indonesia has been labelled a “stunning success” by participants of the 2017 Bali Junior Rugby Tournament, with expectations high that next year’s event will attract even more teams from throughout the Southeast Asia and wider Asia-Pacific regions.
The inaugural Bali Junior Tournament at Finns Recreation Park in Canggu (formerly the Canggu Club) attracted a total of 26 teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Timor Leste and Australia, spread over girls, boys and mixed teams from the Under 16 to Under 10 age groups.
Bali is awesome, Indonesia is amazing and the standard of rugby being played by both the boys and girls over two action-packed days is a credit to the organisers, players, parents, supporters and the game of rugby itself,” said Natasha Coughlan, a parent with the Jakarta Komodos Rugby Club. “Everyone I’ve spoken to has had a great time on and off the pitch and we know that numbers will increase next year, for sure. It was a stunning success.”
Highlights of the Bali tournament included the top-level quality of rugby played by the Casuarina Cougars Junior Under 16 boys side from Darwin, as well as the Valkyries girls Under 16s from Singapore, which is a combination of both the Tanglin and Centaurs clubs. Both sides took out their respective divisions, though it wasn’t one-way traffic.
“The Casuarina Cougars were superb but I was truly impressed by the Valkyries, who started out as a couple of touch teams and fused to become a really good 7s rugby side and perform really exceptionally in their first competitive rugby matches,” said Aaron Meadows, coach of the Jakarta Komodos Girls Under 16s, which came runners up in both the Finals and Bowl Finals.
Cameron Bates, co-coach of the Komodos Girls Under 16s, which is comprised of players from the Mama Sayang Orphanage, said his highlight was the performance of the new Bojonegoro girls team who bused in from East Java to claim the bronze medal.
“They’ve only been playing together as a team for two months but the raw talent and great coaching saw them take the Bowl Final in what was a great display of rugby, particularly the tackling, close-quarter offloading, rucking and overall continuity of play,” he said. “But what really got me was how emotional the team were after their victory, and then apologising to the opposition for winning.”
Andika Widya Nugraha, coach and driving force behind the fledgling Bojonegoro Club, which only formed two months ago to compete in the Bali Rugby Tournament, said the performance of the team on the field and the third-place result against such physical and skilful teams had reduced many of his players to tears.
“We are so thankful to the organisers of this tournament for giving us the opportunity to play our first games,” Andika said. “We love the game of rugby and we will be back next year, hopefully with even more teams. And we hope to have a mini-tournament in Bojonegoro soon and that the Komodos will be there.”
Indonesia’s inaugural junior rugby tournament has been labelled a major breakthrough in the development of junior rugby in not only Indonesia but also Southeast Asia. The tournament was jointly hosted by the Jakarta Komodos Rugby Football Club, Rugby Development Bali, the Bali Rugby Club, with the support of the Indonesian Rugby Union (PRUI) and Finns Recreation Club.
Trevor Morrish-Hale, coach of the Jakarta Komodos Under 10s side, said it was a great result to see two Komodos sides competing in the final of the division in what was one of the matches of the tournament.
“The match was brilliant, ending up in a 20-19 result,” Trevor said. “Having said that, the Bali Chilis side were strong, and the Rugby Development Bali side, who were also competing in their first competitive tournament matches, played out of their skins. It bodes well for rugby in Bali and we look forward to meeting them again before next year’s Bali Tournament.”
Kurt Lovell from the Indonesian Rugby Union Bali (PRUI Bali) said the Bali teams “performed better than we could have hoped!”
“The five Rugby Development Bali teams led by their coach Dharma and ably assisted by Florian and Wira; and the 2 teams from Bali Chillies Rugby Club led by Denim and Hinchy, were more than competitive and even managed to win the Bowl in a few age divisions.”
Kurt said discussions were already under way about holding the next round of domestic junior rugby games before the end of 2017. “The most important outcome from the 2017 Bali Junior Rugby Tournament was when we asked these young Balinese kids: ‘do you want to keep playing rugby?’ and the answer shouted from the roof tops was ‘YES!’”
He said all the feedback received from participants in this year’s inaugural event had been overwhelmingly positive. “The indication is that all the clubs will return again in 2018 and will be bringing teams in additional age divisions. So we can expect an even more international presence in the 2018 edition.”
Tournament organiser Johannes Spies, from the Jakarta Komodos Junior Rugby Club, said he was delighted at how comparatively smoothly the event ran, given it was an inaugural competition, and the Gunung Agung volcano was threatening to erupt for the first time in 57 years.
“We can only build on this success and expect that we will see an increase in numbers for next year,” Johan said. “Not many junior rugby tournaments in the world can boast first-class facilities, an adjacent waterpark, a tropical beach within walking distance and such a great group of kids, families and supporters who are passionate about truly developing rugby. We thank everyone who participated.”
2017 Bali International Rugby Tournament Results:
U16’s Girls Cup (First): Singapore Valkyries
U16’s Girls Plate (Second): Jakarta Komodos Red
U16’s Girls Bowl (Third): Bojonegoro RC
U16’s Boys Cup: Casuarina Cougars
U16’s Boys Plate: Bangkok Lions
U16’s Boys Bowl: Rugby Development Bali
U14’s Cup: Jakarta Komodos Red
U14’s Plate: Komodos Timor Leste
U14’s Bowl: Bali Chillies Rugby Club
U12’s Cup: Singapore Centaurs 2
U12’s Plate: Singapore Centaurs 1
U12’s Bowl: Jakarta Komodos Blue
U10’s Cup: Jakarta Komodos White
U10’s Plate: Jakarta Komodos Blue
U10’s Bowl: Bali Chillies Rugby Club