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Join our Team!

Love rugby? Love coaching? LRF has coaching and management positions open today - apply today to support the growth of rugby in Laos! The LRF is recruiting for the following positions:

Please note that all work will take place in a resource constrained environment and volunteer stipends for coaching positions are limited. Please send your CV and cover letter stating your renumeration expectations to info@laorugby.com if you are interested in any of these positions.

2019 DHL Hanoi and Vientiane 10s Kick off in January

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15 Jan, 2019, Vientiane, Laos. In a historic year for rugby in Asia, rugby players and enthusiasts from the United States, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam will come together in Hanoi and Vientiane for a new rugby 10s series sponsored by DHL.

January 2019 marks an exciting time for rugby in Southeast Asia. Building upon the success of the longstanding Vientiane International Rugby Championship, the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) has partnered with a new competition, the Hanoi 10s, to create a multi-tournament series spanning two weeks in January, with opportunities for rugby outreach, recruitment, and education between tournaments.

In 2017, LRF staff and Coaches traveled to Kim Boi, Vietnam to support ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches in hosting their first international tag rugby competition. This year, the LRF is proud that its staff and Coaches will again return to Vietnam to support the first club 10s competition in Hanoi attracting senior international club teams as well as seeing the Kim Boi Wild Cats compete at the club level for the first time. “It’s an exciting time for rugby in the region with 2019 being a South East Asian Games year and also the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia,” comments LRF President Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun. “The LRF is proud of our role as a leader for ChildFund Pass It Back work in the region and in developing rugby in Vietnam in the lead up to South East Asian Games 2021 when the country of 90,000,000 will host the cornerstone games.”

The series kicked off in Hanoi, with a single-day tournament marking the first-ever DHL Hanoi 10s on January 19th. The tournament included local teams, teams from Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as representative teams from Laos, sponsored by DAC. In the following days, visiting international teams traveled to learn about the development of rugby in Vietnam by observing ChildFund Pass It Back coaching activities in the area which focus on rugby and life skills development for young people. International teams were also invited to experience local culture and cuisine and, of course, practice on local pitches to prepare for the second tournament in the series.

Before competing in the 12th annual DHL Vientiane 10s, however, visiting teams were given an opportunity to practice with rugby coaches from throughout Laos. A leader in rugby development in the region, the LRF’s partnership with ChildFund Pass It Back has spurred unprecedented interest among youth in Laos: since the curriculum’s implementation in 2015, the number of registered players in Laos has grown from 300 to 3,000. Visitors met the coaches at the forefront of this growth through their involvement in Lao club teams.

The DHL Vientiane 10s, previously the Vientiane International Rugby Championship, is a long-standing Southeast Asian rugby fixture, and competition this year will be held on January 26-27. 2019 marks the 12th annual DHL Vientiane 10s, and promises fierce competition in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions with 23 teams in the men’s and women’s elite divisions and in the men’s development division. Chao Anouvong stadium in downtown Vientiane will once again host teams and representatives from the United States, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and Vietnam.

For rugby enthusiasts, the importance of this tournament resonates beyond the January excitement. Rugby World Cup 2019, hosted by Japan, will be the first played in Asia. To coincide with this historic year, World Rugby has announced its Rugby World Cup 2019 partnership with ChildFund Pass It Back to grow the sport of rugby throughout Asia. Tournaments, and in particular, series, like the DHL Hanoi and Vientiane 10s provide opportunities for local teams to compete at a high level and continue to grow the sport and inspire others to join.

Laos will be celebrating the partnership between World Rugby and ChildFund Pass It Back with its own youth rugby tournament on the first day of the Vientiane 10s - the Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back League Finals. Youth rugby teams throughout Laos have been competing since early December for a place at the Finals tournament in Vientiane - the teams playing represent the provincial champions from Xieng Khouang, Vientiane Province, and Vientiane Capital. The tag rugby tournament will take place on January 26, coinciding with the Vientiane 10s, and young rugby players will have a chance to watch the international competition.

It’s a particularly poignant year for players from Xieng Khouang, where the ChildFund Pass It Back program was first piloted in 2015. Since then, rugby has grown significantly among youth players - but this season marks the first time that a senior club from Xieng Khouang will compete. All of the players in the club have come through the LRF’s ChildFund Pass It Back work. Thanks to the support of the Hong Kong-Based Pot Bellied Pigs RFC and the individual contribution of Chris Garvey of Habitual, clubs from Xieng Khouang will have the chance to compete at the 2019 DHL Vientiane 10s - a historical first for rugby in Laos and demonstration of sustainable growth of the game and the LRF’s strong development pathways.

The LRF and Hanoi 10s Organising Committee would like to thank DHL and DAC for sponsoring the first annual Hanoi and Vientiane 10s series. The Vientiane 10s would also like to thank secondary sponsor ANZ, as well as Anakot Consulting for supporting the 2019 DHL Vientiane 10s. We would also like to thank all teams who have registered, including local Lao club teams the Buffalos, Wild Hogs, Canon Tigers, Lions, Buffalettes, and Xieng Khouang RFC and especially the DAC Weredragons and Rejectors, whose generous support has made it possible to send a representative team from Laos to Hanoi to compete. A very special thanks to ChildFund Pass It Back for important work growing the sport of rugby in both nations.

Read the full “2019 DHL Hanoi and Vientiane 10s Kick off in January” press release here.

Australian Rugby Superstars Visit Laos

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(16 August, 2018) Vientiane, Lao PDR - Olympic Gold Medalist Charlotte Caslick, Australian Men’s National Team Captain Lewis Holland, and Former Australian Women’s National Team Captain Rebecca Tavo are visiting Laos to support the growth of rugby coaches and players in Lao PDR.

Organised by the Australian Embassy in Laos, ChildFund Laos, the Lao Rugby Federation, and Tribe7s, the Australian superstars have been training with the Lao National Teams and supporting the growth of Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby in Vientiane Capital and Xieng Khouang Province during their visit.

Charlotte Caslick is an international rugby superstar who won gold at the first-ever Olympic Rugby 7s in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. That year, she won World Rugby 7s Player of the Year. Year after year, she continues to be a standout player and role model for young people worldwide. “I'm really looking forward to working with the team at the Lao Rugby Federation and to supporting the ChildFund Pass It Back program,” said Caslick on her public Facebook profile. “My brother, Sam Caslick, and my mate, Rebecca Tavo, have already spent time in Vientiane helping the Lao national team prepare last year and their reports on the awesome work being done in Laos made me put this on top of my to-do list once we got a break in our schedule.”

Caslick is joined by fellow Australian superstar, Lewis Holland, who is Captain of the Australian Men’s National 7s team. Holland also participated in the Australian squad for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury. He has continued to lead the team through the most recent 2018 Rugby World Cup, and has big plans for the future.

The visit kicked off with a full day of training ac:vi:es in Vientiane Capital. Tavo, Holland, and Caslick led a training clinic for six teams of 11-16 year-old Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby players. These young athletes will be using the inspiration and new skills from the training at a tournament in Vientiane this weekend where U16 teams from Vientiane Capital and Xieng Khouang Province will compete against each other. The winning teams will be presented with trophies by the Australian stars themselves, who will be pitch side for the final rounds.

Caslick, Holland, and Tavo also led a training for DAC Lao National Team hopefuls, a pool of elite players who hope to be selected to compete in a number of international tournaments coming up later in the year. Ms. Tavo helped train the DAC Lao Women’s National team last year, alongside Ms. Caslick’s younger brother, as part of a growing rugby relationship between Australia and Lao PDR.

On Friday 17 August, the Australian Embassy in Laos hosted a welcoming event at the Australian Embassy Recreation Facility. Colleagues from ChildFund Laos, the Lao Rugby Federation and the Australian Embassy were able to welcome the international athletes alongside partners from the Lao Ministry of Education and Sport, the Lao Olympic Committee, the Lao Women’s Union and the Lao Youth Union.

Caslick, Tavo, and Holland will depart from Vientiane on 19 August to visit Xieng Khouang, where they hope to contribute to the growth and development of the sport in the lead up to the Lao National Games set to be hosted in Phonesavanh in November, where rugby will be an exhibition sport for the first time. The Australian athletes will spend the first day of their visit in Nonghet District, where they will observe a Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back rugby and life skills session led by local Coaches that helps players learn and practice important life skills centred around rugby’s values.

The following day, they will lead an outreach clinic to share their passion for rugby with new young players and support Lao Coaches in recruiting new players for the upcoming Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back season set to begin later this month. Over the remainder of their trip, the Australian heroes will also enjoy several meals and meetings with Coaches from nearby villages and travel to Paek District to support with further outreach and new player recruitment events.

This season marks an important :me of growth for Lao Rugby; Coaches in Vientiane Capital, Xieng Khouang Province, and, for the first time, Vientiane Province, are in the midst of recruiting teams for the upcoming school year. With more than 40 new teams joining Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum in Laos, Coaches are working hard to introduce new players to the benefits of the sport. Role models like Caslick, Tavo, and Holland help old and new players get excited about rugby and inspire the next generation of leaders.

We would like to thank our partners including ChildFund Australia, the Australian Embassy in Laos and Tribe 7s for making this visit possible, and for continuing to support the mission of growing the sport of rugby in Laos. We would also like to thank Ms. Tavo, Mr. Holland, and Ms. Caslick for generously giving their time and energy to growing the international rugby family.

Read the full “Australian Rugby Superstars Visit Laos” press release here.

LRF and Australian Embassy Celebrate Growth of ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos

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Vientiane, Laos, 13 July, 2018: The Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) and the Australian Embassy in Vientiane are celebrating the completion of a 4th season of Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back in the Lao PDR including 30 new Coaches trained, the expansion of the curriculum into new areas and a team of Lao boys and girls returning from the RKU ChildFund Pass It Back Cup in Japan.

June, 2018 marked the end of the 4th season of Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back where more than 80 teams from 3 locations in Laos completed a year of weekly tag rugby and life skills trainings focusing on Gender and Planning for the Future content. “The ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum has ignited rugby in Laos with more than 3,000 registered players participating in regular tag rugby and life skills training and competitions,” announced LRF President Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun. “We are excited to see the curriculum engaging new participants with more than 50% female participation at the player and Coach level and we appreciate the support of our dedicated partners at ChildFund and the Australian Government who are powering the curriculum’s ongoing development and expansion in Laos and the region.”

ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative sport for development curriculum that has partnered with World Rugby, Asia Rugby, and Women Win to provide integrated rugby and life skills learning opportunities to children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia. Pass It Back was developed in Laos with assistance from the LRF and now the LRF is an official implementing partner of ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos and remains a leader among other implementing countries in the region.

After four seasons, the LRF, with support from the Australian Government and ChildFund as well as community sponsors like Asia Rugby and the Pot Bellied Pigs RFC, is expanding with 6 new teams in Vientiane Province set to start ChildFund Pass It Back activities in the new school year alongside new teams in Vientiane Capital and in Paek and Kham Districts in Xieng Khouang Province. “The growth of the sport in Xieng Khouang is exciting since it started in Nonghet District and now many young players and Coaches are eager to get involved in the rugby and life skills work across the Province,” commented LRF’s Xieng Khouang Provincial Rugby Development Coordinator, Ms Lao Khang. “There are many enthusiastic new Coaches from new districts who were trained in June and are excited to get back to their villages and start recruiting new players for the upcoming 2018-2019 season.”

ChildFund Pass It Back Coach training in June, 2018 was the fifth installment of the training which offers intensive rugby and life skills Coach training as well as team management, safeguarding and first aid content for Coaches aged 16-25 years old. The trainings are designed to equip young Coaches with the skills they need to go back to their communities and train youth teams in content from one of four modules including Gender, Planning for the Future, Being Healthy and Feeling Safe. The Coach training saw 70 Coaches trained in ChildFund Pass It Back content where Ms. Viengsamai Souksavanh and Ms. Lao Khang served as educators for new tag rugby Coaches aVer earning their World Rugby Coach Educator accreditations in Hong Kong last month. Thanks to the support of Hong Kong Rugby Union, Sandy Bay U14s and DAC Management for making Souksavanh and Khang’s training and education opportunity possible as the two became the first two Lao women to earn such prestigious international accreditations from the global governing body for the sport of rugby union.

In addition to training new Coaches and expanding to new locations, the LRF was excited to send 6 players and 2 Coaches to the RKU ChildFund Pass It Back Cup in Ibaraki, Japan last month. The players joined forces with players from Vietnam and the Philippines to form the South-East Asian (SEA) Dragons. During the trip the Dragons competed in a tag rugby tournament against students from Japan and participated in leadership and gender life skills activities as well as visiting the sites of Tokyo.

For many Lao players, the trip was their first opportunity to travel beyond Laos. “I want them to know that Lao people have a lot of abilities,” said player Minly. “I want them to see our strengths and that we are at the same level as them.”

All of this was made possible by Australia’s support for the growth of Rugby in Laos. “All kids should have the opportunity to play sports,” says Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr. Jean-Bernard Carrasco. “Not only does it teach them to be healthy, but sport also teaches them important life skills, teamwork and leadership."

The LRF thanks ChildFund Australia and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for making the ChildFund Pass It Back work in Laos possible. The LRF also thanks ChildFund Pass It Back partners, Asia Rugby, World Rugby, Women Win, チャイルド・ファンド・ジャパン (ChildFund Japan) for their ongoing support for the curriculum in Laos.

Thanks also goes to the LRF’s Champa Ban Youth Rugby sponsors including DAC Management LLC. Vientiane College, Pot Bellied Pigs RFC, UK Embassy Vientiane, Irish Embassy in Hanoi, DFDL Legal & Tax, Cairnhill Structures, PROJECX, 1765 Gemini, and DHL for their ongoing contributions to youth rugby in Laos.

We would also like to thank the Friends of Lao Rugby in Hong Kong, led by Kowloon Rugby Football Club and ESF Kennedy School along with Escapade Sports and Streamline Sports, who have worked to raise awareness for rugby in Laos and provide significant support to Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth players in the form of donated items. Finally, we would like to thank Shrewsbury House School who is running a shoe collection scheme in the United Kingdom which has donated over 700 pairs of shoes and other equipment to Champa Ban players in Laos over the past year.

Read the full “LRF and Australian Embassy Celebrate Growth of ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos” press release here.

52 Youth Coaches Participate in First Rugby and English Camp

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Vientiane, 24 June 2018: The Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) launched its inaugural Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Rugby and English Camp, with 52 Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches receiving intensive English language training paired with daily rugby activities. Having completed the camp, Coaches will be able to use their newfound English abilities to better understand in World Rugby training and education content, to interact more with visiting coaches and players and generally in their studies and as leaders in their communities.

On 21 June 2018 the LRF hosted a ceremony in Vientiane, Lao PDR to celebrate the graduation of 52 coaches from the inaugural Rugby and English Camp. During the previous three days, the coaches participated in English training and assessment activities led by native English speakers from around the world.

Developed by the LRF and ChildFund Laos and sponsored by the British Embassy in Vientiane and Vientiane College, this first Rugby and English Camp used principles of student-centered learning like the Coaches have been using in theirChildFund Pass It Back rugby and life skills sessions with players in their communities. The result was a 4-day experience that made English language fun and accessible for the young Coaches and moved coaches and teachers alike. “Sometimes you work really hard on something and it doesn't turn out how you hoped,” said Casey Morrison, a ChildFund Laos representative who developed the curriculum and served as a teacher throughout the camp. “On rare occasions like this one, you work hard on something that ends up exceeding your highest expectations.”

For Coaches, these new English language skills, including introductions, numbers, parts of the body, and rugby-specific vocabulary, will open new doors. “English language learning can help us feel more confident as Coaches and as leaders,” commented Boudsadee Vongdala, a Coach and LRF staff member. “Many World Rugby resources are available online in English and guest coaches often visit Laos from the UK and other English speaking countries. Having basic English skills can help us understand the materials and better interact with and learn from visiting coaches.”

At the graduation ceremony, Coaches displayed their new skills through performance, including a skit and two English-language songs. British Ambassador Hugh Evans and LRF President Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun recognized the achievements of these Coaches by handing out certificates commemorating their hard work and thanked the teachers, assistants, and supporters that made the Rugby and English Camp a success.

Over the next two weeks, the Coaches will participate in the biannual Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coach training, two weeks of rigorous curriculum where new coaches will have the opportunity to earn their Coach certification for the first time and veteran Coaches may earn a higher level of certification. As part of the training, all Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches participate in sessions focusing on measuring change, first aid, and safeguarding practices in addition to rugby and life skills, allowing Coaches to improve awareness around safety and improve access to first aid in their communities.

The LRF would like to thank our ChildFund Pass It Back partners including ChildFund, World Rugby, Asia Rugby, and Women Win as well as Australian Aid for powering ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos. Thank you to Princeton in Asia, who supplied the teachers for Rugby and English Camp, and to Vientiane College, whose generous loan of their facilities made this camp possible. Finally, many thanks to the British Embassy in Vientiane for their support of the camp as part of their work to support increased access to education across Laos.

We would like to also thank our generous Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back sponsors DFDL Legal & Tax, Coca Cola, Pot Bellied Pigs RFC, DHL, DAC Management LLC, RedBox Storage, PROJECX, Cairnhill Structures, and 1765 Gemini for their ongoing contributions to youth rugby in Laos. We would also like to thank the Friends of Lao Rugby in Hong Kong, ESF Kennedy School, Kowloon RFC, Sandy Bay U14 Girls, Kukri, Escapade Sports, Streamline Sports, and Shrewsbury House for their support of the LRF’s youth programming through kit and equipment donations.

Full Rugby and English Camp Press Release Here.

Lao Rugby Federation Hosts Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Children’s Day Competition in Vientiane

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(3 June, 2018) Vientiane, Lao PDR - To celebrate International Children’s Day, the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) hosted a full weekend of matches for over 30 Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back teams from across Vientiane. Over the course of two days, U13 and U16 players had an opportunity to participate in tag rugby matches and engage in safeguarding and life skills activities that form the foundation of the ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum. 

Organized and led by the LRF’s Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches, the competition featured a tag rugby tournament as well as activities designed to introduce players to key safeguarding and first aid components of the LRF’s Safeguarding Policy. 

Saturday saw U13 teams from across Vientiane Capital come together to compete and also featured a visit from the Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr. Jean-Bernard Carrasco. During his visit, Ambassador Carrasco learned about the LRF’s Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby work, watched several tag rugby matches between teams, and commented on the importance of sport in the lives of young people: “I think all kids should have the opportunity to play sports. Not only does it teach them to be healthy, but sport also teaches them important life skills."

Sunday’s matches featured U16 teams from across Vientiane and was attended by LRF President Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun, who commented on the improvement seen among certain U16 players who have been participating in the Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby program for several years: “We’ve seen many strong young players come through the Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back activities and are excited to continue to develop these players as both athletes and community leaders.” 

Champa Ban, meaning “flowering blossom” in Lao language, includes all youth rugby activities offered by the LRF. This weekend’s competition served as a capstone to the fourth full season of ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos. Originally piloted and developed in rural Xieng Khouang Province with support from Pass It Back partners ChildFund Australia, World Rugby, Asia Rugby, and Women Win, the ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum has since expanded across more than 9 districts in Laos and to Vietnam and the Philippines. 

The ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum integrates rugby and life skills training to provide lessons in a number of areas including gender, planning for the future, being healthy, preventing violence, safeguarding and leadership.

This season, over 400 players on 33 teams in Vientiane Capital participated in Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back  Of these, 57% of registered players are female, helping to make the LRF’s overall female participation rate the highest of any rugby union in the world.  Nearly 600 more players are involved in Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back in Xieng Khouang Province, pushing the total registered youth player count to over 3,000. 

In the coming months, the LRF plans to build on the successes of the Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Youth Programme in Laos by growing in 42 schools in Vientiane Capital as well as further expansion to Vientiane Province and expanding into more schools and villages and into a third district, Kham District, in Xieng Khouang Province. 

By working closely with the Ministry of Education and Sport at all levels, the LRF will expand from 100 teams to 150 teams across the country by 2019. To ensure that the ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum is properly implemented for these new teams, the LRF will train and upskill 80 coaches at the upcoming 2018 Coach Training. Coaches will work in pairs across all many districts to deliver weekly curriculum sessions and build strong rugby players and community leaders across Laos. 

We would like to thank our ChildFund Pass It Back partners including ChildFund Australia, World Rugby, Asia Rugby, and Women Win for powering Pass It Back in Laos.  We would also like to thank Australian Aid and ChildFund Australia for their generous support for the youth program in Laos.  Finally, many thanks to the Australian Embassy and Ambassador Jean-Bernard Carrasco for their interest and continued support of the LRF.

We would like to also thank our Champa Ban Your Rugby sponsors Vientiane College, DFDL Legal & Tax, Coca Cola, Pot Bellied Pigs RFC, Cairnhill Structures, PROJECX, 1765 Gemini, DHL, and DAC Management LLC. for their ongoing contributions to youth rugby in Laos. We would also like to thank the Friends of Lao Rugby in Hong Kong, led by Kowloon Rugby Football Club and ESF Kennedy School along with Escapade Sports and Streamline Sports, who have worked to raise awareness for rugby in Laos and provide significant support to Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth players in the form of donated items. Finally, we would like to thank Shrewsbury House School who is running a shoe collection scheme in the United Kingdom which has donated over 700 pairs of shoes and other equipment to Champa Ban players in Laos over the past year. 

Read Full Champa Ban Finals Competition Press Release Here.

Coaches and Rugby Leaders Reaching New Heights in Laos

Vientiane, 15 March 2018: The Lao Rugby Federation (LRF), in partnership with key supporters including Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRU), DAC, and ChildFund Pass It Back, has propelled its training and education programs to new successes. The last year has seen the continued expansion of the LRF’s Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby program. Through this success, the LRF has worked to provide pathways for young rugby leaders to develop their skills through World Rugby certification trainings and has doubled the number of certified individuals in Laos with dozens more young Lao coaches and players working towards their certifications.

The LRF’s largest training and education initiative revolves around the LRF’s groundbreaking Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back youth rugby program, which focuses heavily on providing training and educational opportunities to young coaches. Since 2015, the LRF has hosted four ChildFund Pass It Back Coach Trainings, allowing coaches to improve their skills and earn new coaching level certificates including Bronze, Silver, and Silver+. These trainings have been run in partnership with ChildFund, Women Win, Asia Rugby and World Rugby; at the most recent Coach Training in July 2017, 68 coaches received new certification levels and the accompanying knowledge in rugby coaching and refereeing, life skills coaching, safeguarding, first aid and team management. With a female participation rate of 54% and a focus on recruiting coaches with no prior rugby background, the LRF has been able to reach individuals previously left out of traditional coaching and sport leadership activities.

One individual with little rugby background who has gone on to become a successful rugby coach and player is Noy, a female Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coach. One aspect of being a Coach that Noy enjoys is the opportunity to be a leader: “I am a secondary school student who is still being taught by teachers, but I am now also coaching and imparting knowledge to players, which challenges me a lot. However, I love being a coach because it allows me to not only learn how to be a leader, but also how I can integrate many of the lessons and life skills into my daily life.” From beginning as a Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coach to her budding career as a rugby player, Noy has benefitted greatly from the opportunities provided through rugby.

Building off of the training and education opportunities provided through the ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum, the LRF began expanding access to World Rugby Certification courses, allowing successful Champa Ban Coaches to build their knowledge of rugby in a variety of areas. Since September 2017, the LRF has hosted 1 World Rugby Course in Strength and Conditioning (the first ever delivered in Laos), 4 courses in Officiating, and 5 courses in 7s and 15s Coaching.

In October, the LRF hosted a series of Level 1 Coaching, Officiating and Strength and Conditioning Courses supported by World Rugby, Thai Rugby Union and ChildFund Pass It Back. These courses saw 52 individuals from Vientiane and Xieng Khouang receive their qualifications. Additionally, the first 5 Vietnamese ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches traveled to Vientiane to study coaching and officiating and received their Level 1 qualifications, displaying the regional impact of the LRF’s continued efforts.

From 29 November - 2 December, the LRF also hosted the first Olympic Solidarity Coach Training Course in partnership with World Rugby and the Lao National Olympic Committee. The Course offered World Rugby Coaching Level 1 and 2 training to 20 participants with the LRF’s Rugby Development Manager, Mr. Pisa Vongdeuanpheng, co-facilitating along with Chris Garvey of Hong Kong Rugby and Football Club.

The LRF also hosted a World Rugby Level 2 Officials training for the first time in history in November, 2017 with a follow up workshop lead by Rugby World Cup Official Leah Berard in February, 2018. The newly trained Level 2 officials practiced their refereeing skills at the recent DHL Vientiane International Championship. “A key aspect of continuing the growth of rugby in Laos is having well-trained, confident referees who can maintain a safe playing environment for players of all skill levels. As we continue to train Lao referees, the LRF becomes able to host increasing numbers of competitions, allowing players and referees opportunities to improve and show their abilities”, commented Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun, LRF President.

Through the provision of so many World Rugby courses in Laos, key LRF staff have been able to rapidly improve their knowledge, including Mr. Pisa Vongdeuanpheng, the LRF’s Rugby Development Manager. In 2017, Mr. Vongdeuanpheng earned his World Rugby Coach Educator qualification, placing him among the highest levels of rugby leaders and coaches worldwide. Mr. Vongdeuanpheng is the first person in Laos to be given the title, and he is now qualified to lead World Rugby Level 1 certification courses.

Mr. Vongdeuanpheng plans to use his new qualifications to continue educating members of the Lao Rugby community in the World Rugby certificates that are key to expanding and improving the level of rugby in Laos. As the size of the Lao Rugby community continues to grow, it is necessary that players and coaches are taught necessary skills at a world-class level, and Mr. Vongdeuanpheng is now ready and able to drive rugby in Laos to a new level of expertise.

In addition to Mr. Vongdeuanpheng’s achievements, Ms. Viengsamai Souksavanh recently earned her World Rugby Level 2 Coaching qualification, becoming the first Lao woman to earn this honor. Last fall, Ms. Viengsamai was able to utilize her coaching skills in her role as Head Coach of the DAC Lao U17 Women’s National Team, who earned three victories at the 2017 Asia Rugby U17 Sevens.

Pisa and Viengsamai are two leaders in the LRF’s newly formed National Team Leadership Committee. The Committee, supported by Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRU) and DAC, works to train and advise Lao leaders in overseeing the DAC Lao National Teams. The Committee meets with advisers from HKRU quarterly to plan and review Lao elite program strategy. Following the Committee’s first workshop in September, 2017, Committee members went on to coach the DAC U17 Lao Women’s National Team to victories in Dubai and the DAC U16 Lao Men’s Nagas to an undefeated Cup win at the Chonburi Youth Rugby Challenge. The LRF hopes to see the National Team Leadership Committee continue to build on this success  in 2018.

The Lao Rugby Federation would like to thank Chris Garvey, Steve Jones, and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union for their continued dedication to providing World Rugby courses in Laos. The LRF would also like to thank the Lao National Olympic Committee and the Thai Rugby Union for their assistance in providing the most recent round of World Rugby Level 1 and 2 Coach Trainings. Finally, the LRF would like to thank Platinum Sponsor DAC, who has been a longtime supporter of the LRF’s Elite programme, and ChildFund Pass It Back, whose support grants young rugby players and coaches across Laos opportunities to learn and grow through rugby.

 Read the full “Coaches Reach New Heights in Laos” press release here.