Okay, how strange is this? Women's Rugby (Union) in Laos is booming. Even more weird is that the national competition is being organised by a young woman from the USA who is a Rugby tragic. She plays front row in local tea (she's a giant by Laos standards). She studied International Development at Uni in the States and wanted to get into Development work in Asia, saw an ad for a volunteer to work in the Laos National Rugby Office and arrived 6 years ago. Only in the past year has she begun to be paid.
Why Rugby? Why women? Well soccer is seen as a man's sport - that's what the TV programs they see tell them. No one had heard of rugby, so when it arrived the girls said lets make that our game and while there is also a men's comp the women own the code in this country.
It's widely played in the villages where it's used as a way of getting young women involved in leadership and education programs. This young American knew far more than I did about the recent world cup. In fact she was there at the final in London and was able to give me detailed account of the final which Australia lost to NZ.
We met her in a coffee shop where she was online organizing an international comp for Laos for February next year.
One of the more unusual stories of the trip so far.