Such matches between teams from different countries are normal, scrum-fodder fare in Southeast Asia. Due to not having a Rugby Union league in Vietnam, the two teams in this country often travel overseas to get the competition they so desire. Such is the cost of travelling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it’s often cheaper to play teams in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore than it is in Vietnam.
But Vietnamese teams are at a disadvantage. Take Thailand. The country has 62 registered rugby union clubs alone, while Vietnam only has two. They have 22,000 players of the sport, five official referees and a national team ranked 59th in the world. Vietnam only has two teams and a maximum of 100 players, of whom only a handful are actually Vietnamese. They have yet to be recognised as a rugby-playing nation by the IRB.
Despite the contrast in resources and the scorching midday sun, the Hanoi Dragons put up a strong fight. They scored four tries and converted two, playing more of an English-style forward-based game as opposed to the more expansive, passing-based game of the Thai Barbarians. Where the local team came undone was defending against the handling, strength and speed of the Barbarians’ backs. The away team ran away with six tries, five converted, demonstrating a greater superiority on many areas of the pitch.
Sandwiched between the two halves was a dance performance put on by Birla Children’s Orphanage. At an event later in the day, a jersey from the English Rugby Union featuring the signatures of the entire 2012 squad was auctioned off, raising VND15.75 million (US$750) to be spent on infrastructure, clothing and foodstuffs for the orphanage.
Hanoi Dragons 24 - 43 Thai Barbarians
Hanoi Dragons Try Scorers
Robbie Taylor, Jeremie Cohen, Kristen Chauvin and Adrian Seal
Hanoi Dragons Man of the Match