The Taipei Baboons saw off the visiting Discovery Bay Pirates of Hong Kong in their rugby union match in Taipei yesterday, while two women’s games also went the way of the home team.
For the men, the Baboons scored eight tries to two, running out 48-10 winners.
The women’s teams played two games, one 10-a-side and one of Sevens. The women’s Baboons beat their Pirates counterparts 10-0 through two tries to Catherine Jane Mineur in the 10s and also won the Sevens 12-5, three tries to one, with Jane Chuang, Vicki Offland and Shing Wen Chang dotting down for the home side.
Photo courtesy of Elsa Chang
Spencer Jemelka, who helps coach the Baboons women’s side, said: “We are all extremely proud of the women’s side today, especially given that a majority of them were new to the game.”
“We were very happy with their solid defensive line and dynamic offense,” Jemelka said. “They definitely took to heart the fundamentals we have been drilling over the last month and applied them during the matches.”
“The goal for us is to take the momentum from these two wins today and form a regular, touring team,” he added.
Jemelka thanked the Hong Kong side for making the trip and said the teams hoped they could schedule a return tour.
Meanwhile, Taiwan are to play in Division II of the Asia Rugby Championship against Malaysia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a full round-robin competition next month, the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) announced in a press release.
The games are scheduled for May 10, May 13 and May 16 in Kuala Lumpur, with Taiwan to play the hosts first, followed by Thailand and then the UAE.
The fifteen-a-side competition was launched under a new name and format along with the Asia Women’s Rugby Championship.
This year, Asia’s elite competitions are to focus on the top three teams, reduced from five in last year’s men’s competition — the former Asian 5 Nations Top 5 — and four in the women’s competition, the press release said.
The top tier features defending champions Japan, runners-up Hong Kong and third-placed finishers South Korea contesting a full home-and-away series over seven weeks. The first game was yesterday, with Japan beating South Korea 56-30 at the Namdong Asiad Rugby Field in Incheon, South Korea.
The Philippines and Sri Lanka, the fourth and fifth-placed finishers from last year’s Asian 5 Nations Top 5 competition respectively, were routed into Division I.
“We have restructured our elite men’s and women’s competition to help create opportunities for the top teams to play more matches against opposition in World Rugby’s high-performance bands,” ARFU president Trevor Gregory said in the press release.
Japan is the only Asian team in World Rugby’s high-performance band. Hong Kong and South Korea are in the next tier down — the performance band — while the rest of Asia is in the development band, the union said.
“Our aim is to try and get more Asian countries into the performance and ultimately high-performance bands. Countries in the performance band need to play at least 10 Test matches a year and the new home-and-away Asia Rugby Championship is a first step towards that goal,” Gregory said.
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