Rwanda's Hong Kong legacy to aid development
(IRB.COM) Wednesday 7 April 2010
John Kirwan was part of the HSBC Penguins team working with the Rwandan players in Hong Kong
Samoa may have grabbed the headlines with their IRB Sevens World Series success in Hong Kong last month, but the Rwandan national team made their own piece of history by playing in the Kowloon Tens leading up to the iconic tournament.
For many of the players who made the long trip from East Africa to Hong Kong to play for the Silverbacks - as the national team are known after Rwanda's signature mountain gorillas - it was their first time on a plane and to also see the sea.
However, the trip was not only a chance to play in the Kowloon RugbyFest and witness the world's best nations in action at the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens, but also a key element in their rugby development.
The team spent time in the classroom as part of their IRB Rugby Ready course, which was taught by the HSBC Penguins who are coaching in Hong Kong in the build up to the recent HSBC Asian 5 Nations launch.
The two-day course - which involves classroom teaching and practical sessions on the pitch - was run at the Hong Kong Football Club and will enable the players to coach on their return to Rwanda, helping to develop rugby in the African country.