Rugby union in Thailand
|Rugby union in Thailand|
|Governing body||Thai Rugby Union|
|First played||Early 20th century|
|Registered players||16,121 |
Thai rugby goes back to the early twentieth century. Unlike most other Asian countries, Thailand does not have a history of European colonialism, and was one of the few to maintain its neutrality. Thus Thai rugby is not a legacy of colonialism.
Some of the Thai middle class took up the sport in the 1920s, along with ex-patriates from French and English speaking countries. The Second World War interrupted the development of the sport, but its adoption by the Thai military and police ensured its survival.
Thai rugby still has a strong ex-pat connection - one of the most famous players for Thailand is best known for being Will Carling's brother. The Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok), and the Old Bangkok Bangers Rugby Club are Thailand's main ex-pat rugby clubs, fielding sides in the local Thailand Rugby Union competition, and in local and international 7's and 10's tournaments.
There are now at least fifty clubs in Thailand.
Thailand has a national sevens team. The Scottish rugby commentator, Bill McLaren mentioned the Thais in a report on the 1989 Hong Kong Sevens, and noted that they supplied at least one referee for the tournament, Vengsakern Paerehitya of the Royal Thai Air Force, who gained valuable experience by working with the other internationally renowned referees at the game.
Thailand has hosted two international rugby tournaments -
- Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1)
- McLaren, Bill A Visit to Hong Kong in Starmer-Smith, Nigel & Robertson, Ian (eds) The Whitbread Rugby World '90 (Lennard Books, 1989)
- IRB Thailand Page retrieved 5 July 2009
- Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1) p75
- Thai Rugby Union retrieved 5 July 2009
- McLaren, p70
- McLaren, p 74