This past weekend the Womens side of the Taipei Baboons Rugby Football Club, aptly named the Taipei Babeboons, hosted the Women of the Hong Kong Cricket Club for the first ever 15s a side Ladies’ rugby match on Taiwan soil. The Babeboons fielded a team hailing from all parts of the island, with players traveling from Taichung and a strong contingent from Kaohsiung joining the Taipei regulars, showcasing the increasing popularity and solidarity of Women’s rugby in Taiwan. The match itself took place in balmy 33 degree weather on Taipei’s Bailing Field’s southernmost pitch.
The game was heavy hitting and hard-fought on both sides, with Hong Kong Cricket Club using their swift and dangerous backs to score early tries in the first of three twenty minute periods. The Babeboons used the first twenty minutes to adjust to an unfamiliar 15s playing style and came roaring back in the middle of the second period with forward phases starting from the half way line and driving along the right side of the pitch with pick and goes complemented by offloads to supporting runners for an exhilarating finish in the corner by scrumhalf Kirsty Grant. The Babeboons continued their effort to regain dominance in the last two thirds of the match, winning every one of their lineouts and even stealing two opposition throws with superb lifting of Tiffany Chen at her debut at lock paired with the accurate throws of the hooker, Deborah Su.
In the dying minutes of the last period and deep in Hong Kong territory, the Babeboons pack continued to show their tenacity as they pulled in nearly all the HKCC ladies with strong forward running, creating a three player overlap on the far side of the pitch. However, the Babeboons front row decided to finish the deed themselves with a pop ball from the back of a ruck on Hong Kong’s five meter line to Tina Phenix running at full tilt. Breaking two tackles and dragging two additional Hong Kong players along for the ride, the platinum blond prop fully extended her arms for a crowd pleasing five point finish. Ultimately, the overall experience and decisive running by the HKCC backs proved too much for the Babeboons to overcome with a final score of 22-10.
The HKCC Ladies were also a social force to be reckoned with, narrowly defeating the Babeboons in the obligatory boat race and leading the charge with traditional rugby songs. The evening kicked-off with a dinner hosted by the Taipei Baboons Club and finished at their home bar, the Brass Monkey. The Babeboons would like to thank the Hong Kong Cricket Club’s women’s side for making the trip to Taiwan and hope to see them again next year- and in the years to come. Also thanks to our sponsors, the Brass Monkey for hosting the final party and Redpoint Brewing Co. for donating two kegs for the social.