Over the years, Phuket Vagabonds have been heavily involved in rugby and the sport’s youth development programs, with particular assistance provided to The Asia Center Foundation (ACF) and Patong Municipality School.
The success enjoyed by the Patong school in being afforded the recent opportunity to travel and take part in the Thailand Rugby Union National 7s Finals certainly influenced the decision by the Vagabonds to continue momentum, not only in terms of the school’s involvement, but also to further promote rugby around Phuket.
“By pushing rugby we hope that we can build a mini and juniors Phuket rugby team to compete with neighboring and nationwide provinces in the near future,” commented Dan Ashburn, captain of the Vagabonds.
“With rugby on the rise in Thailand and more and more enjoying the game over its many provinces we want Phuket to join the party and become a competitive team within the Thailand rugby union set up,” he added.
Last Saturday’s clinic was engineered by the Vagabond’s Social Secretary, Santiago Lopez, and prepared on the day by Ashburn and his coaching team, who all were in action by 9am, arranging the individual stations.
“The coaches did a great job grouping the kids into the right brackets and adapting the training zones to the level or ability of the kids, so that everyone could enjoy the experience,” said Ashburn.
“It was fantastic to see such ability and enthusiasm in all the kids and thus only makes us want to drive rugby through the Phuket community even more.”
Fortunately, a good number of coaches volunteered their services and by 10:45am on Saturday, following registration, the clinic was underway.
The four coaching stations involved; speed and mobility, passing, tackling technique, and a game of touch rugby - with young players assisting newcomers to the sport, and youngsters from a range of different schools also taking the opportunity to learn more about rugby from experienced coaches and players.
“[It was a] fantastic day at a fantastic venue; parents could easily watch their kids train at each zone from the raised ACG pavilion, whilst enjoying a cold refreshment,” said Ashburn.
Once the coaching had concluded, all the players and coaches were brought upstairs and treated to a free lunch, prepared on-site by the ACG and Tipsy Cow catering team.
With the success of this rugby event, the Vagabonds are set to repeat the experience.
“We aim to do another free clinic in January, but will market this one a little better, and hope to have more kids; and thereafter, hopefully start a more consistent program going into 2021. [It] would be great to have a girls and boys Phuket team competing very soon,” Ashburn concluded.
The Vagabonds train every Tuesday evening at the ACG from 5:30pm, with Touch Rugby every Thursday at the ACG from 5pm. For further information please visit their Facebook page.