Briars Women’s Rugby Go International

Briars Women’s v Thailand at the Phuket 7s (April 2022)

Briars Women’s Rugby have gone international, recently competing at the Asia Rugby Women’s International Invitational Sevens event as part of the Phuket 7s event.

Briars Women’s Rugby were invited by Asia Rugby and Thai Rugby to compete at the event to play against international representative sides from Thailand (A & B sides), Singapore and UAE.

With a bit of short notice to organise, not all the Briars Women’s players could attend. With such a tight knit women’s rugby community in Sydney, 12 experienced players from clubs including Briars, Burraneer, Renegades and Hunters Hill took the journey to Thailand to compete over two days in Phuket.

The Briars coach also wasn’t able to attend, but Briars old boy and Women’s Rugby coach from the Jindabyne Bush Pigs Rugby Club, Stuart Ryan, joined the team and imparted his knowledge (and touring experience) to the team. The team were joined by Briars Women’s Rugby President David Lannan as Manager and from Renegades Sharon Scott as chaperone and water runner.

Sarah Chapman (left), Jessica Shanahan (centre) and Natale Chapman (right) ready to play

Briars landed in Phuket late on the Wednesday night, getting through all the customs and covid requirements and straight to their accommodation to await negative covid tests. Thursday and Friday saw the team get used to the humidity and heat of Phuket with some training sessions and a bit of team bonding to get to know each other.

Jade Swabey passes the ball from the back of a scrum v Thailand

Saturday was day 1 of competition with games vs UAE and Singapore. All teams have not played any rugby for a long time due to covid restrictions, so it was great to get out on the field. Unfortunately the results didn’t go our way but our tour captain Claire Woolmington scored two tries against Singapore. A well deserved recovery swim then dinner with all the teams at the hotel ended the day.

Day 1 Results
Briars 0 v UAE 19
Briars 10 v Singapore 29

Claire Woolmington (Captain) makes a break v Thailand

Sunday was day 2 of competition and Briars were up against the hosts Thailand A and B. Thailand coached by friend of Briars and NZ 7s superstar Lote Raikabula, we knew we were going to be in for a tough game or two. A cooler start to the day helped us to keep Thailand A to their lowest score of the tournament. Unfortunately the heat and lack of game fitness got to us vs Thailand B and we ended up without any wins for the weekend.

Briars joined the team photos and presentations at the end of finals, where Thailand A took out the trophy. An excellent team dinner after the event enabled everyone to relax and interact with the teams after a big weekend of Rugby 7s.

Day 2 Results
Briars 0 v Thailand A 20
Briars 0 v Thailand B 27

Jade Swabey making a big tackle v Thailand

Asia Rugby and Thai Rugby provided an amazing opportunity for well skilled rugby players from Sydney to compete on an international stage. With a bit more preparation Briars hope to compete with the international sides at the next events. Briars are working to continue the affiliation with Asia Rugby and compete at further invitational tournaments. Briars have already received an invitation for the Dubai 7s International Invitational tournament in December so watch this space!

David Lannan
Briars Women’s Rugby

Team photo
Back Row (L-R): Stuart Ryan (coach), Amber Chittick, Clarie Woolmington, Racheal Taufetee, Sophie Barbaro, Jessica Shanahan, Paige McKeown, Mary-Lynn Matereke, Jade Swabey
Front Row (L-R): Ashlee Scott, Natalie Chapman, Sarah Chapman, Chloe Bromange, David Lannan (Manager)

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