Youth Touch World Cup: An Unforgettable Experience

Malaysia hosted its third-ever Youth Touch World Cup a week before the start of this school year. Nine nations sent 28 teams competing over six separate divisions with ISKL touch rugby players India C. (’19), Emma M. (’19) and Kenzi-Li W. (’18) representing  ISKL in the Malaysia U18 Girls team. ISKL had further representation with Geoff M. as the assistant coach and alumna Jenna Z. (’11) as team manager. The girls had been training hard since February, honing their skills in preparation to compete at an international level. The team played 11 games over 4 days, improving every time. Some highlights were a 4-2 win over the USA on Friday and competing against the world’s best players (the Aussie and Kiwi teams!). Overall, the tournament was a great experience for everyone involved.

Here’s what India (‘19) and Emma (‘19) have to say about their personal experiences from the tournament.

QWhat was the experience like for you?

A: It was really a good competition. It was tough and demanding but overall it was great especially because it was so international and it was really cool to see teams like New Zealand and Australia who train year-round play and to interact with all of the other nations. We were telling them where to visit and stuff so also in that way it was just cool to see the connections made between all of the nations.  – India

I’ve done IASAS Touch before but the tournament was on a whole new level. Getting to play against Australia and New Zealand – their level of competition is so good and it’s amazing to watch them play it helped me develop as a touch player myself just learning from what they did.  – Emma

Q: What was the training like?

A:  Tryouts started in February and then we found out the team in March April and then every month was had a camp so on Saturdays and Sundays on Saturdays from nine till three ad Sundays from nine to five. It was all very hectic because it was all the way in Putrajaya but it was quite a fun time cause a bunch of girls who were from the Marlborough school would fly out and people from all over Malaysia would come.  – India

The training was somewhat intense even though we had Marlborough girls so we couldn’t have practices every day –  it was only on Saturdays and Sundays once a month. We would sometimes have training camps which would last 8 hours a day once a month, so even though we didn’t have them often, when we met up as a team it was full on. – Emma

Q: What was a typical day at the tournament?

A: Hot! very, very hot — actually two of the New Zealand players had to go to the hospital because they were so hot, but we’d wake up at around 8 so it wasn’t too bad. Our first games were around 10 and we’d have three 40 minute games and they were all within the span of like five hours – India

There was a lot of excitement on the first day because we were finally playing as a national team it was such a crazy feeling, it was really tiring playing against all the teams that we did – you would be exhausted at the end – we got barely any breaks in between games so it was pretty rough. We couldn’t even support the Malaysian guy’s team because we had only an hour and a half break before we had to start warming up again. On the other hand, it was so cool because while you were waiting or resting you talked to other teams, so I got to meet people from the South African team. It was great because on the last day we did this thing where you bring in all your own country’s merchandise and you exchanged them. I got a visor from South Africa and a shirt from Singapore so you could get a souvenir from other countries which was cool. – Emma

QWhat have you’ve taken away from the experience?

A: Honestly, I thought it was really inspiring just to see how committed some of these players were. Especially the ones from New Zealand and how much they were enjoying playing the game; everyone just finds it a fun sport. Everyone says it’s like a giant game of tag so it’s just cool to see how people from around the world feel about it with so much passion. – India

I learned a lot about teamwork —  we lost most of our games so it made us a little agitated with each other because we weren’t winning but after every game, we would have a pep talk to say that it’s okay and that we were doing well as a team. – Emma

Q: How did the competition go and did you achieve all that you sought out to do?

A: The tournament went really well. We’re Malaysia’s first under 18 girls team so we weren’t expecting a lot. New Zealand and Australia are known as the big rugby nations so we were all a little nervous but we played really well. We gave Singapore a good run for their money and we beat the United States so that was pretty good. Overall, I think it went pretty well. – India

We expected to beat a few more teams but overall we were all so proud of ourselves and our coach was really happy with us. We beat the states but we scored tries against South Africa, Singapore, and some other teams like New Zealand and Australia. What was really cool about the tournament was that you played every team and then you played them again before it went into playoffs. It was really cool to see improvement —  the first time we played New Zealand they absolutely killed us but then the second time the try margin was a lot smaller so that was pretty good. – Emma

Q: What would you want for people who don’t play touch to know about it?

A: It’s actually a lot of hard work —  it may seem like a game of tag — you just run and touch someone then run back but it’s actually really tiring. However, it’s also really really fun because it’s like organized tag and there’s a lot more to it than just what most people see on the outside.  – India

It’s a real sport —  it’s not organized tag and that it’s a really big mental game in a sense —  you have to be really supportive of your teammates because there are only six people on the field at once. – Emma

Shout out to our coaches but also the manager who helped set up the whole tournament Jenna (‘11) and it was really cool because she knows ISKL and she knows all of us and she was there getting us all involved.  -India