THERE’S a famous rugby figure in Thailand this weekend as Bob Dwyer holds the first of three coaching workshops in Phuket. The 1991 World Cup-winning coach is running the courses at Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club, and will be assisted by Mike Penistone, who has coached extensively in England and Australia.
As well as offering his experience to coaches and players throughout South-East Asia over the three weekends, Dwyer’s presence will bring other benefits to the region. He will be guest speaker at a dinner to raise funds for the Asia Centre Foundation scholarship programme and Phuket Lomas Rugby Youth development programme.
The Lomas were set up to help orphaned and disadvantaged Thai children from the 2004 tsunami, with an emphasis on education as well as sport. Pat Cotter and Roelien Muller, director of the Asia Centre Foundation that administers the kids, received the IRB Spirit of Rugby award for their work in 2008.
They have now set up a company, Strategic Sports, to increase rugby’s profile in that part of the world and to help continue the work of building a better life for kids through rugby and education.
Former Moseley player Daniel Ashburn now coaches and teaches the children of the Asia Centre Foundation. He says: “The money we raise will aid the boys and the Foundation by giving them more rugby and life experiences as they grow up. We have about 60 children who play rugby with us every week and train to improve their skills. Unfortunately, fixtures are few and far between because of the costs involved, hence why we need to support them with fund-raising events.”
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One such event is the annual Phuket Tens, a long-running tournament involving more than 30 teams from far-flung places.
For more information on the Lomas or Asia Centre Foundation, contact Pat Cotter at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Ashburn at email@example.com. For details of Bob Dwyer’s coaching, visit bobdwyerrugby.com