Bob Merrigan, Vice-President of Property Services for Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Asia-Pacific division tells us about the growth of Bangkok Rugby Tens.

“Eddie and I were both involved with the British Club Rugby Section and at the time, in 2005, Eddie was our captain and I was the rugby section’s secretary, a position for many years referred to as the “scribe”. In 2003, the Club celebrated it’s centenary and the rugby section held a ‘Tens’ tournament and we had wanted to find a position in the regional rugby calendar to repeat the event but this was not possible until 2006 when Eddie and the players presented the idea and wanted to organize the tournament. Essentially, the first year it was only Eddie and me and the only pitch available was out at Rangsit University and it involved a single pitch and sixteen teams.

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“In 2007, we held the tournament on the three fields at Bangkok Patana School and have been there ever since. We also added in the DHL Bangkok Lions Junior competition, which meant we have run the event over two days with rugby being played at three pitches simultaneously from 8am to 6pm over two days. There have been 45 junior teams from Under 8s to Under 18s, typically 24 senior teams including representation from Thai university teams, all expatriate teams in Thailand and many overseas teams. We have also always had around 8 veterans teams and we also showcase the Bangkok Bangers Ancients, which allows the over 50s to play for twenty minutes each year. This means we typically have in excess of 1,500 players of all ages from under 8s to over 50s together with coaches, parents and other spectators the tournament has grown into the best annual social weekend of rugby in Thailand – and we are often told by visiting teams one of the best weekends within the regional rugby calendar (their words – not ours!).

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“We focus very much on the social side though there are always at least four very good teams that can win the tournament every year.

“The rationale behind starting the event was to try to raise funding and develop a rugby specific complex that could be used by the local rugby community. After a few years, Eddie said that to fulfil our long-term goal would take a long time so we spent time looking for an exceptional good cause to support and once we found it, we’ve all bought into it big time and for most of us, this is the best thing we’ve been involved with in our rugby careers, whether it be it playing, or as administrators.

“Eddie has played for Canada in three Rugby World Cups but he will not mind me telling you how proud he is of this rugby programme and he has been the driving force behind it all. All the other volunteers are equally as proud and we typically raise enough funds each year to cover the majority of the running costs, which then leads to more fundraising activities throughout the rugby calendar.

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“For the tournament format, we are one of the few, possibly only, tournaments that offer a minimum of at least two games on the Sunday, on top of the three games played by each team on the Saturday.

“For the men’s tournament this means that we not only have Cup, Plate and Bowl competitions but also Shield Jug and Tankard. For the Vets and Juniors we typically have only Cup, Plate and Bowl.

“Famous players we’ve had include Bob Skinstaad, who visits us at least every two years. We’ve also had from Robbie Fleck and Bryton Paulse from South Africa, the former Tongan Captain and NZ TV commentator Willie Lose visits as often as he can."

2013 Results

http://www.macoocoo.com/index.php?r=group/default/tournament&group=445&section=pools&tid=128.

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