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Rugby: Kunming Tigers vs Chengdu Pandas

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The Kunming Tigers Rugby Football Club
The Kunming Tigers Rugby Football Club

Update: We have just been notified by the Kunming Tigers that the match has been moved from Kunming Stadium to Tuodong Stadium. The match will still start at 2:15pm. Spectators should go to the stadium's second floor and enter through gate 14.

Editor's note: On Saturday, March 3 Kunming will host its first post-World War II rugby match when the Chengdu Pandas take the field at Tuodong Stadium against the recently assembled Kunming Tigers. Kunming resident Matt Bowden has provided GoKunming readers with the following introduction to rugby in China. Go Tigers!

Telling someone in Kunming that you play "olive ball" (ganlanqiu, 橄榄球), as rugby is known in Chinese, tends to elicit confused reactions. Occasionally someone might display a flicker of recognition and then go on to say that they love the helmets, mistaking "American olive ball" for "English olive ball."

The sport now has a foothold in the city thanks to a group of enthusiastic players who have started Kunming Tigers Rugby Football Club. Other Chinese cities have long boasted their own clubs and regularly host other teams from around the country.

Team names range from the bizarre (Beijing Aardvarks) to the clichéd (Guangzhou Rams) and occasionally describe a team's characteristics (Beijing Devils and Xiamen Typhoons).

Rugby actually has a long history in some parts of China, not least in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Rugby was brought to China by British traders in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Following Liberation in 1949, rugby vanished from mainland China. The National Sports Council even banned rugby for a time, saying "the meeting of sullied bodies in physical contact cannot be approved."

Getting ready for the Pandas
Getting ready for the Pandas

Rugby was non-existent on the mainland until the 1990s when a number of local clubs were established at universities and in the People's Liberation Army. The Chinese rugby team is now a regular participant in the IRB Sevens World Series. The 2016 Olympics will include the sport for the first time.

Believing that a baptism by fire is the best way to put their new team on the China rugby map, the Kunming Tigers have taken the bold step of inviting the Chengdu Pandas to Kunming for a match this Saturday. Admission to the match is free.

This will be Kunming's first rugby match, and with players from eight different nations so far, the Tigers showcase the sport's ability to bring people together and also to contribute to the community.

The Chengdu Pandas in action
The Chengdu Pandas in action

So for those with an interest in watching or playing rugby, come down to Tuodong Stadium this Saturday at 2:15pm. The Tigers would appreciate any and all support in helping mark this historic occasion.

For those people who are more interested in rugby's social side, anyone is welcome to join the teams at O'Reilly's Irish Pub after the game. Regardless of the final result, both teams will be celebrating.

Chengdu Pandas image: Shenzhen Standard

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C'mon the Flying Tigers!
Get down to the game and make sure you come out for the afterparty at O'Reillys as well. It will be a massive night

Can't wait for the game.

I second that, defo come down to O'Reilly's for the Saturday night

Best team sport in the world. And the after-match "piss-up" at O'Reilly's will likely be as interesting as the game.

Y'all Come!!

Can't wait to play this first rugby game of Kunming!
It's gonna be something to remember, glad to be a part of it!


Didn't think I would see rugby in Kunming.
Really looking forward to it, It may head to this after party

Bring it on! First outing for the Tigers and first Kunming tour for the Pandas...this promises to be a great day out. O'Reilly's afterwards is guaranteed to be a heap of fun with a pint of China's finest Guinness on top.


橄榄球——力量与冲撞的游戏 加油 昆明飞虎队 加油 第一支昆明橄榄球队

lets go Tigers!


First picture the last one person on the right, my best friend Luca "Kun" Cunetta. Do you realize if he play football or rugby? Please dont think the italians play football like him. We usually are better, in particular me, i'm his idol...... Bye ma friend, i miss you!

Kunming Flying Tigers!

This game will definitely be a good one and how can you beat free admission? I hear the African Drums will be playing at the game too!

When did we get shortened to just "the Tigers"?

Rugby....then after party at O'Reilly's....i think my life is now complete....Going to be an AWESOME day....Come a join us!!!!

We need to earn our 'wings'!


这个星期六下午两点钟在昆明体育馆迎来了本土首场橄榄球比赛,这次比赛将改写昆明没有橄榄球比赛的历史, 而改写的一刻我们共同见证参赛队伍由昆明老虎队对阵成都熊猫队, 两队实力不相上下,难分伯仲,目前我不知道那一支队伍能取得最后的胜利,所以 欢迎大家前来观看这难得的比赛!!还有还有!!!!!! 在比赛只后在北市区的爱尔兰酒吧举行一个盛大的庆祝聚会,会有很多的人来,其中有来自成都的球迷,大家不谈国籍,年龄, 只为了开心!! 我们有太多的理由邀请你的到来, 如果你能支配自己的夜晚, 你喜欢认识新朋友, 你喜欢聊天, 喝酒, 听音乐,找个热闹的地方发呆,或者你更中意泡妞泡帅哥,无论如何,你一定要来!我们在等你们, 谢谢大家

This is going to be a night to remember. I hope to see a lot of people here, everyone is welcome- lao wai and countryman alike!

the match... the third half.... can't wait!!! I am very glad to be part of it!!

See you all guys & let's go Kunming Flying Tigers!!!



Best of luck lads, "give em hell"


Remember, lads: The rugby game is only a part of the weekend's competition.

Read pride is won and lost at the bar!

The Pandas are coming.....this is just the beginning


Kunmingers, better start bracing yourself! ON and OFF the pitch that is. Prepare for savageness...




Prepare your selfs for total domination ON and OFF the pitch! Boat races, dance offs and general drinking- thats where legends are born!


Pandas against Tigers. it's gonna be the war in the zoo !!!

I'm aware aware aware ! So glad to see this battle on the pitch and at the pub



I know kung fu...and the panda's are going down


We will Kung fu panda you guys off the pitch.

Where can you always find a tiger's head?
four foot from his tail!

So you better be careful


Cmon the Tigers! Give em Hell


Rule # 1: Dont mess with Pandas.
Tigers dreaming of victory either on or off the pitch....
Forget About It!!


Kunmingers! This weekend is your chance to help 'Save the Pandas'. Bring down your spare change and plenty of bamboo leaves - we want to do whatever we can to mitigate their suffering.


JCVD Quote : "biscuit has no spirit, it's just a biscuit" JCVD


Attention all Flying Mingers!

come one, come all to the Kunming stadium for SW China's greatest sporting spectacle......

They'll be some great ass on show, as the pandas hand the mingers their first ever whipping both on the pitch and in the pub!



Wise chinese man once say.

Go to bed with itchy bum,Wake up with smelly finger.

You better be prepared!!!


Ladies of Kunming beware! It is a well known fact that after mating, the male Chengdu Panda leaves the female to raise the cubs by herself. Maintain vigilance at all times and remember, stay classy Kunming.


When a Chengdu player falls into a body of water, he doesn't get wet - the water gets Panda....


nice to see you pandas so excited, maybe you will have a chance on the pitch because you have more experience, NO way you are going to win off the pitch, this is for sure.


This tour came at the perfect moment!

Middle of March marks the start of our mating season; but I think down in Kunming, where it's a little warmer, we surely celebrate this annual momentous occassion in the first weekend of March.

Sorry Tigers, clear the forest! Its been a long year, and We Pandas are HOT!!

Lets go Pandas.... ITS OUR TIME!!!!


ridiculous tour costume......check
no plans to sleep for the next couple of nights......check
liver.....meh, it just gets in the way
first and most epic tour of 2012 about to get underway.......CHECK!

let's go Pandas!


I think you have forgotten about the little rugby game we are playing.

While you lot are cooking an appointment for a lives transplant. You will need to fend off the tigers from their unrelenting thirst for pandog blood.

pandog = Eats shoots and leaves.
tiger= Stays conquers and destroys.

whatcha gonna do pandog?

When the flying kunmingers run wild on you!!!!!

We have just been notified by the Kunming Tigers that the match has been moved from Kunming Stadium to Tuodong Stadium at 99 Dongfeng Dong Lu. The match will still start at 2:15pm. Spectators should go to the stadium's second floor and enter through gate 14.

Kunming Flying Tigers

Thanks @Chris

everybody spread the word.


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