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Rugby clinic puts Malaysian students in touch

Seoul Sisters and Hangang Exiles launched the fifth touch rugby season in Seoul with its first ever training clinic at Jamwon Park last Saturday.

The growing popularity of the sport in Korea became apparent when a group of Malaysian students joined the more than 60 touch rugby enthusiasts being put through their paces by coaches Marcus Powell and Theresa Tupuola early on Saturday afternoon.

Ball-handling drills started around noon, before six teams were picked to play each other.

“After a couple of early fumbles, the players got right into the swing of things,” said Powell. “By three o’clock, the games had gotten so competitive that it was difficult to convince the players that the clinic was officially over.”
Malaysian Mechanical Design Engineering student, Affandi, from Seoul’s Dongyang Mirae University prepares to sidestep during handling drills. (William Du Plessis)
Malaysian Mechanical Design Engineering student, Affandi, from Seoul’s Dongyang Mirae University prepares to sidestep during handling drills. (William Du Plessis)

Malaysian student Nik Amin said he would be back for more.

“We had so much fun today,” he said after the session. “It was good just to get out and play some rugby. Some of us learned the rules of touch rugby for the first time, but we enjoyed it so much that we will start to play it regularly at university. I really want to thank the organizers of the rugby clinic for coaching us and lending us equipment to continue enjoying this awesome sport.”

Nik and his eight compatriots study Mechanical Design Engineering at Seoul’s Dongyang Mirae University. They found out about the event via Facebook.

“We play a lot of touch rugby back home in Malaysia, and this get-together allowed us to relax, make new friends and enjoy the spring sunshine,” said Amin.

Seoul Sisters founding member, Natalie Hallemans, described the event as a great success.

“It was fantastic to see the Malaysian students joining in the fun,” she said. “After last year’s International Touch Seoul competition attracted more than 20 teams from 4 different countries, it feels good to yet again be a part of making visitors to Korea feel welcome. With this level of enthusiasm, touch rugby will continue to grow in Korea.”

Social touch is played every Saturday from March to November at the Jamwon Rugby pitch, with tournaments every 4-6 weeks to accommodate several teams. Most of the teams are based in and around Seoul, but some travel from as far away as Busan for the tournaments.

For those who would like to know more about touch rugby and how to get involved, visit www.koreatouch.com, or simply head to Jamwon rugby pitch in Apgujeong-dong on Saturdays around noon. The touch rugby season culminates in the Seoul International Touch Seoul Competition, which was held in September last year.

By William Du Plessis  (wim.duplessis@gmail.com)
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