LANNA RUGBY CLUB was established in January 2018 in the hopes to finally generate a sport in the north of Thailand that can be played at a high level.
IN THE BEGINNING, the now Head Coach (Tom Stubley) along with a colleague at the time (Ian Davidson) began to formulate a way in how to make rugby a prolific sport in the North of Thailand. The name Lanna Rugby Club came as a brain child of the two of us, wanting to establish the North as a Rugby Nation. Lanna is the old name for the Whole of the North, the name for us was to create unity as well as harking back to the long history of the North.
THE LAND we found through the help of Zoe In Yellow, a big western style night club in the centre of Chiang Mai. By August 2018 we had secured the land at Lamphun Technical College as our own, soon to become known as ‘The Lions Lair’.
IN SEPTEMBER L.R.C. recruited a new coach; Dave from the U.S. of A. Dave contacted L.R.C. via the Facebook page, eager to give a helping hand. He came along at the right time. Ian departed Thailand to teach in Egypt so Dave was a much welcome addition to the coaching team.
The FIRST EVER TRAINING session commenced at the start of October. Dave and Tom every week went down relentlessly, first just a couple of players turned up, heck even some weeks there were none. However, slowly but surely more players appeared, as if by magic, one, two, five, eventually Lanna Rugby Club had developed a team worthy to play in their first ever 10’s match.
Our FIRST EVER TEAM KIT was designed in house, and due to all the hard work the coaches had put in, they were being noticed by companies in Chiang Mai. L.R.C managed to secure two sponsors. Zoe In Yellow whom helped the team with finding the L.R.C. home ground, and CM Telecom. The latter sponsored the first team kit shirts, a dazzling sky blue and white patchwork kit with their Logo emblazoned on the front, and the Zoe In Yellow logo on the back below the numbers.
The BEARS CAME KNOCKING. In February the Lions (Lanna Rugby Club Nick Name) headed to Chiang Rai, a three hour drive away, for what would soon be known as the ‘Battle of the Titans’. Our Men’s First Team played three halves against the Mighty Chiang Rai Bears. The Bears had been coached by Lonny (a close friend of the L.R.C coaching staff) for three years prior to this engagement. It was a hard fought match, playing three halves due to it being too much fun to stop. The end result was BEARS 24 – 22 LIONS, only losing by two points the player coaches, Tom and Dave couldn’t have asked for anything more.
THROUGHOUT THE FIRST YEAR the L.R.C. coaches wanted regular rugby, organized rugby to really develop the rugby scene in Thailand. After a lot of talking, by the end of February L.R.C. managed to create the first ever Rugby Union League, alongside the other rugby team coaches, in Lanna. Lonny, in Chiang Rai, simultaneously worked alongside L.R.C. to generate a league to work in Chiang Rai. Come June 2019 the first ever 10’s League’s will be played in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
THE END OF THE BEGINNING came midway through March. due to the intolerable level of pollution around from the crop burning happening all over Thailand at the time. The coaches, Dave and Tom, also thought that after such a wonderful start to the L.R.C. It was time to call time on the first year of Rugby.
LONG LIVE RUGBY.