Macau Rugby Union
I – The Union
The Macau Rugby Union (MRU) was formed in 1996 by a group of former rugby players stationed in Macau. The club was, since there was no other organized team in the territory and by the current Macau SAR laws, given the prerogative of naming itself as an association or an union and act accordingly.
The MRC is registered with IDM – Instituto do Desporto de Macau and acts as the sole local authority for the sport of rugby.
The Macau Rugby Union is the governing body of the sport of rugby in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, with the following commitments:
- Promote, foster, develop, and support the game of rugby in the Macau SAR by increasing the quality and numbers of players in all its versions – Senior, Youth, Junior, Women, 15-a-side, 10-a-side, 7-a-side, beach, touch & tag.
- To provide an environment that attracts local and international sponsors to all facets of rugby and to ensure that they feel rewarded.
- To serve as the sport’s official representative to the Macau Olympic Committee, Asia Rugby (AR), and World Rugby (WR)
- Organize, control, and govern domestic rugby competitions.
- Organize and control Macau-based regional and international competitions.
- Select local teams or players to participate in regional and international competitions representing the Macau SAR.
II – History
It all started with a group of Portuguese friends who had been avid rugby players back in Portugal. In January 1996 in support of the Portuguese National team, who had been invited to join the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Tournament for the first time in 1994, the Macau Rugby Union (Clube de Râguebi de Macau) was founded.
Since its early days, rugby in Macau has been supported by the Macau Sports Board (Instituto do Desporto), which has helped develop rugby in Macau. Training began at the turf ground near the Border Gate in 1996 and continued there until June 1999.
On February 10, 1996 the Macau Rugby Club (MRC) played its first match against the Hong Kong Football Club, Rugby Section Contemptibles XV, where they drew at 12 – 12. The initial season was successful with the MRC playing against teams from Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Portugal.
First Tournament in Macau
The first Macau Rugby Tournament was held in March 1997, comprising of two teams from Portugal, Veteranos de Lisboa and Agronomia, one from PRC (People’s Republic of China) – Guangzhou, Agriculture University, and the Macau Rugby Club. The winners of the competition were the agronomists from Lisbon who defeated the Macanese team 15-0, despite heavy rain.
Tournaments in Macau
To promote the game in Macau and attract rugby tourists to Macau the MRU decided to organize the Macau Rugby 10’s Tournament which was held for three consecutive years, from 1998 to 2000.
Due to the lack of available grounds, the competition was interrupted for a few years. However, from 2006 onwards the Club was granted access to a football pitch once a year taking the opportunity to invite teams from Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the Region to enjoy a full day of 10’s.
Macau Beach Rugby
From 2001, the MRU started to organize the Macau Beach Tournament with the participation of Macau, Hong Kong and Guangzhou teams having the very first woman’s competition taken place in Macau in 2004.
The Macau Beach Rugby Tournament is now a very solid and exciting event, counting now with 12 editions, and is held every year in September with both women’ and men’s teams.
The Manila 10’s was to be the first real test for the team’s overall strength and resistance. 1998 was the first time the MRU sent a team there and they consistently managed to battle their way through qualifying rounds to regularlye reach the Cup competition. British Club Bangkok beat Macau 12 – 5, at cup final in 1999.
The team also showed presence in many other tournaments in Hong Kong, especially the Kowloon 10’s, Hong Kong Union 7’s, and Valley 15’s. MRC has visited Shekou twice, once for the only Touch Tournament that they have ever played, and the second for the Shekou 10’s in 2008 were they felt the taste of victory.
The team has also been in Guangzhou for several times including for the first game that the local Rams played in 1997. Shanghai in 2002 for a 7’s tournament and in Phuket in 2006 for a 10 aside competition.
1999 was a major juncture in the team’s history. The MRC boys were performing at their peak with several invitations from Hong Kong Teams inviting Macau players to join 1st and 2nd division competitions. That same year, Macau, backed up by a few players from Hong Kong, formed a Macau Barbarians team and played against the development team from Hong Kong before the Hong Kong vs. Canada match for the Pacific Rim. The game remained even with Macau triumphing 7 – 5 at the last minute.
As a member of ARFU (Asian Rugby Football Union) since 2002, the MRU was invited to play a development match against Pakistan in October 2004 on the occasion of the 19th Asian Rugby Tournament in Hong Kong. Macau won by an expressive 55 – 0.
Again, on the 22nd May 2005, Macau was invited to play against Cambodia in Hong Kong as a curtain raiser match before Hong Kong played South Korea in qualification for the World Cup 2007. Cambodia was playing its first international game and Macau won 46 – 7.
On 16 June of 2006 the Indonesia Rugby Football Union hosted the Macau Rugby Union in a Barbarian Match between an Indonesian selection and Macau at the ISCI Rugby Club. This was the first international match (non-Test level) played on Indonesian soil under the IRFU. The match was a tough forward battle with some great runs by the backs and was played in good spirits with the visitors running out eventual winners 22-10.
Two years later the team visited Jakarta to play again a game against Indonesia on the same ground. This time they found a stronger and defensively well organized team and the result was a 17 all draw.
III – Current Activity
The Macau Rugby Union currently consists of 160 members playing the game, of whom 60 are seniors, and 100 are juniors and children. Apart from these members, the Union has another 60 supporting members.
The MRU is a true reflection of Macau with a multitude of nationalities that merge together to make up a multicultural united nations of Rugby. The team has featured and features players from Angola, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Macau, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, UK and USA. The Macau Rugby Union is unwavering in its attempts to join together this miscellany of players and basically just to do what they love best, play rugby.
Youth / Minis Programme
Macau Minis began when MRU was formed and has a proud history of knowing that some of the kids who passed by in the late 90’s are now playing on the first division level in Portugal having some of them been part of the Portuguese National squad.
The section was renamed the Macau Bats and includes both mini and Colts players now. The Macau Bats normally organize two Mini-Rugby Festivals per season, normally in January and May, with the participation of teams from Hong Kong. The Bats also regularly participate in
The Get Into Rugby programs were introduced in 4 international local schools in 2014. The MRU organized a dedicated WR Level 1 training course for the PE teachers of those particular schools. The plans for 2017 are to gradually introduce the GRI program in local Chinese schools.
The first inter-school GIR tournament was held in June this year with the participation of the 4 schools were the program was implemented in both women’ and men’s format.
Macau Rugby Union
Union Official Website:http://www.macaurugby.com/
Union Web/ Press/ PR contact email:[email protected]
Union Mailing Address: Al. Dr. Carlos d’Assumpcao 415-417, Dynasty Plaza, 21 O
Union Phone:+853 28517520
Union Fax:+853 28517523