The All Girls Rugby Tournament is about team spirit, and sharing the spotlight with the boys

The All Girls Rugby Tournament is about team spirit, and sharing the spotlight with the boys

On day one of the tournament, captains from the Hong Kong and Australian teams may be competing, but they're united on one thing: girls rugby teams kick just as much butt as the boys


The Sai Kung Stringrays playing against another local team, HKFC/Valley in the U19 category at the beginning of the day.
Photo: Jamie Lam/SCMP


The Stingrays U16 team snap a quick group photo before their game against the USRC Tigers.
Photo: Jamie Lam/SCMP

Day one of the All Girls Rugby Tournament, hosted by Hong Kong’s top amateur rugby squad, the Sai Kung Stingrays was an immense success.

Today, teams from all over Hong Kong and all over the world gathered at King’s Park in Ho Man Tin. And the highlight of the afternoon was the Sai Kung Stingrays, whose U19, U16 and U14 teams all got off to fantastic starts.

The U19 Stingrays and Australian Illawara teams emerged as tournament favourites, and dominated their oppositions before Illawara defeated the Stingrays with the a tight 19-15 victory at the end of the day.

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“The tournament has been awesome and it's really important for girls’ rugby in Hong Kong,” said Lara Schats, a 17-year-old student at the Australian International School and one of the captains of the Stingrays’ U19 squad, who hopes to get a Hong Kong passport soon so she can represent our city after she graduates.

“We get tired of playing against the same teams over and over again, and getting to play against new talent and teams from different countries is really motivating. Hopefully, this will encourage more girls to try rugby," Lara added.

(L-R) Francesca Pesci, Maya Renick, and Lara Schats.

Her teammate, 16-year-old King George V (KGV) student Maya Renick said tournaments like these are the reason she loves rugby. 

“I play both football and rugby, and people always ask me which sport I prefer,” said Maya, who battled through an ankle sprain to play today. “Lately, my answer has been rugby, because tournaments like this get me so much more hyped than football ever could.”

The Stingrays’ U16 captain, 15-year-old KGV student Rosie Down, said the All Girls Rugby Tournament is one of her favourites, and that she's hoping to lead her team to a gold medal tomorrow afternoon. 

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“It’s my job as captain to make sure [the team] doesn’t lose heart and give up if we’re losing,” Rosie said. “I need to find any way I can to lead them to victory.” 

To Grace Mcfillin, captain of the U14 Neddies and Allies team from Perth, Australia, there is another important element to being captain.

"As captain, if you show trust in your team, they will also show trust in you," Grace told Young Post.

Beyond the experience of the competition, the Stingrays’ U14 captain and KGV student Giorgia Buttrey said the tournament is giving the girls’ some much-deserved, and very overdued exposure.

“Even though the boys get more attention on TV, there is no difference in skill level between us,” Giorgia said, adding that teamwork and communication will be the key to the U14 squad seizing victory tomorrow. The Stingrays U14 team won all four of their matches today.

Jonte Fitzgerald, captain of the Australian U14 team the Swampdogs Rugby Union Club, couldn't agree more: "Boys may be faster, but we have more technique," she said.

Be sure to stop by King’s Park tomorrow for some top-notch rugby, and to see if the Stingrays will emerge victorious against stiff competition from all over Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore!

Edited by Heidi Yeung


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