Strategic Sports Phuket International Rugby 10s – 2014
Roosters 2014 Champions
Vagabonds take the Plate
The excellent facility at Thanyapura Sports Club was once again the venue for what had been built up to be one of the most competitive tournaments in our 16 year history & so it turned out.
Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers Tournament
As is the tradition we started out on Friday with the Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers Tournament showcasing veterans talent at its best. it may not be as fast as the youngsters but what it lacks in speed it certainly makes up for in intensity with no quarter asked for or given in some brutal encounters.
The first round of games saw a lot of the old favorites in town & the Jagermeister Wanderers Wrinkleys showed their intent with a 38-0 demolition of the HKFC Old Bulls. The Moorabbin Rams Vets were decidedly out of sorts and went down to a fired up KL Old Dogs side 5 – 19. The Asian Japanese Dragons Gold always perform well in Phuket and were unlucky to go down 24-29 against The Beige Assassins a team whom Calvin Bland on the occasion of his stag weekend put together from around the globe and which featured his father Frank Bland who at 72 years young is easily the oldest player to grace the hallowed fields of Phuket whilst earning the name Frank the Tank from his fellow team mates for doing a Strawpedo in 2.5 seconds….Not bad for an old fella !!
Old friends who we hadn’t seen in a while the Pot Bellied Pigs were debuting in the Coffin Dodgers and after a hard fought encounter with the Bedok Kings Vets ran out 21 – 19 winners. In the Group D game Cottesloe Pirates upset with their 2013 performance were determined to do better and held on for a 22-17 victory over the Phuket Viagrabonds.
Abu Dhabi Harlequins Veterans opened their account in round 2 with a convincing 59-0 victory over the HKFC Old Bulls. The Bucks Bunnies were outclassed by the KL Old Dogs 0 – 45. Arabian Gulf Leg’ends were unlucky to go down to The Beige Assassins 15 – 17. Whilst the Phuket Viagrabonds were beaten by a well drilled Pot Bellied Pigs side 14 – 27. Cottesloe Pirates continued their fine form over Bedok Kings Vets in a close game the Pirates edging it 21 – 24. In the final round of group matches the Jagermeister Wanderers Wrinkleys were no match for an impressive Abu Dhabi Harlequins Vets team losing 0 – 22. The Moorabbin Rams after losing their first match upped their game against the Bucks Bunnies to win by a score of 19 – 5. Asian Japanese Dragons Gold once again showed their never say die attitude when defeating Arabian Gulf Leg’ends 26 – 7. Bedok Kings Vets put an end to the Viagrabonds hopes of a finals spot downing them 17 – 5. In the final group game The Pot Bellied Pigs were no match for an impressive Cottesloe Pirates team losing 7 – 24
In the Bowl Semi Finals both the Bucks Bunnies & The Bedok Kings Vets won to ensure an all Singapore final on the Sunday. The Rams & Asian Japanese Dragons Gold progressed to the Plate final & in the cup The Abu Dhabi Quins were no match for the KL Old Dogs losing 24-10 and The Cottesloe Pirates were heartbroken when going down 14-12 to the Beige Assassins.
Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers Vets Cup Final
Beige Assassins 12 – KL Old Dogs 5
Moorabbin Rams Vets 28 – Asian Japanese Dragons 7
Bucks Bunnies 7 – Bedok Kings 5
After heavy overnight rain the weather was hot and steamy and would add to the atmosphere as teams squared up for the kick off in what promised to be a closely fought main tournament. New comers Sahoca Rugby from Malaysia, a very competitive Al Ain Amblers, last years champions from Australia The Moorabbin Rams, Bedok Kings from Singapore and 2011 winner the Roosters from South Africa all signaled their intent to be there around cup time with some big wins in round 1. The Group D Australian derby encounter between the Groote Eylandt Mudchooks and the Nerng Bulls was the game of the round with a no holds barred tussle that eventually saw the Mudchooks prevail 10-5.
As the day wore on the heat was rising in both the weather and intensity on the pitch as some of the favorites began to play each other. Sahoca prevailed over Al Ain Amblers for their 2nd win 7-5 whilst the Rams secured a last minute win over the San Miguel Wanders from Singapore 14-7. The Phuket youth development side The Phuket Lomas took on Alor Star Blues in a pulsating game and ran out 14-12 winners. The other stand out game of the round was a tough battle between The Phuket vagabonds and the Mudchooks which saw a try saving tackle that dislodged the ball over the line by Vagabond Steven Cox the deciding factor in a close game that the vagabonds eventually won 28-10.
In round 3 the Amblers, Sahoca Rugby, Rams and Roosters continued to show there intent with big wins over the Asian Japanese Dragons, Prince of Songkla Rugby, Phuket Lomas and Alor Star Blues respectively. Old time friends from Bangkok the Bangers Colts got on the board with a 12-0 victory over a bright Xodus Dubai Wasps side. The game of the round was home favorites the Vagabonds and the Nerang Bulls from Brisbane. A big hitting game of attrition that was eventually taken by the Vagabonds 12-10.
Day Three – Finals Day
After the excitement of the Tour Virgin Beauty Pageant held the night before at Taipan which was won by the Roosters it was time to get down to the serious end of the Tournament.
The Mudchooks who had entertained before each game with the now classic “Chukka” dance were visibly exhausted from their efforts on stage and went down to a fierce Bulls side 31-0 to drop down into the bowl competition. The Bangers Colts went down 14-0 to a resurgent Bedok Kings side whilst the form sides from day one, Rams, Roosters, Sahocaa and Al Ain Amblers all went through to the Cup quarter finals. The home town lads the Vagabonds again showed good form beating Alor Start Blues 24-0 to progress.
The different divisions of the tournament were now beginning to take shape and the Bowl 1/4 finals produced one of the best games so far when the Bangers Colts narrowly overcame the Mudchooks 14-12 to progress to the Bowl Semi Finals. Losers of these games dropped down into the shield semi finals. Prince of Songkla were over run by an ever improving Phuket Lomas side 21-0 with Alor Star Blues and Xodus Wasps also making the semi finals with fine wins over KL Strays and the Asian Japanese Dragons .
In the Cup 1/’4 Finals the losers would drop down into the plate competition and The Roosters fought out a feisty encounter with the Nerang Bulls which saw two Bulls players receiving red cards as the Roosters won 21-0. The Rams & Sahoca both showed their pedigree with wins over Bedok Kings & The Wanderers respectively. The Vagabonds came up against a fired up Al Ain Amblers side who played a superb game to deny the Vagabonds any clean ball with which their flying backs could use and ran out 22-0 winners.
Semi Final time and the Shield would be the first one to be contested with two of of the crowd favorites going head to head with the Mudchooks scraping past a valiant Asian Japanese Dragons side 17-12. The other semi final saw the Prince of Songkla get a walk over against the KL Strays.
Shield Final Mudchooks V Prince of Songkla Rugby
In the Bowl Semis The Bangers Colts managed to hold out despite a 2nd half onslaught from the Xodus Wasps to win 7-5 and in the other game a tiring Phuket lomas side who had performed heroically all weekend went down 12-0 to Alor Star Blues
Bowl Final Bangers Colts V Alor Star Blues
The Plate semi finals saw the Singapore derby match between Bedok Kings and the San Miguel Wanders go the way of the Wanderers by a score of 24-0. The Vagabonds smarting after their loss to Al Ain were in no mood to lose against a depleted Bulls side and a display of superb running rugby saw them reach the final with a 26-5 victory
Plate Final San Miguel Wanderers V Phuket Vagabonds
Into the Cup Semis Finals and the Roosters played the Al Ain Amblers who had put in so much effort to beat the Vagabonds in the 1/4 finals that they found it hard to raise their game again and went down in an entertaining match 21-7
Defending Champions the Moorabbin Rams took on an unknown for them in the form of Sahoca Rugby from Malaysia who had entertained the crowd all weekend with their free flowing style of rugby. In a see saw game with the result in doubt until the final whistle the Rams edged it 10-5.
Roosters V Rams
The Shield final was again a fantastic match between Australia’s Mudchooks and Prince of Songkla Rugby from Hat Yai Thailand. In a rugby exhibition of speed verses strength the bigger and more experienced Mudchooks wore down the Thai side to emerge Shield Winners by a score of 26-14
The Bowl Final was played under intense heat and humidity and it clearly affected the Bangers Colts who had no answer to the pace and skill of the Malaysian side Alor Star Blues who ran out worthy winners 24-0.
The plate final was one that the home crowd had been waiting for with the Phuket Vagabonds looking to win the Plate trophy after the disappointment of missing out on the cup against what was a very good Wanderers side from Singapore. Vagabonds captain Darryn Mathee kicked off and Percy Habana soared above the Wanderers players to claim the ball and set up the first try for Colin MacRae on his final appearance for the team in the opening seconds of the match. A visibly shaken wanderers were then knocked back with a further two quick tries by Darryn Mathee and JP Sonnekuss. The Vagabonds were putting on the best display by a Phuket side ever and the crowd screamed their delight with students from the Asia Center Foundation leading the way. Scrum half Danny Cairncross then crossed over on the stroke of half time to all but kill off the game.
The Wanderers although numbed from the first half onslaught came out fighting and got the score that their battling spirit deserved. The Vagabonds however were in no mood to be denied and another player who was making his way home after the match Matt Thompson went in for a double to put the result beyond doubt and bring the curtain down on both his and Colin’s vagabonds careers. Final score 36-5.
This eagerly anticipated and evenly balanced match had a lot of history between these great rivals with barley a score separating the sides in previous finals.
The last time they met in the 2011 final the Rams prevailed under controversial circumstances whilst the Roosters took out the 2010 Title.
This year wouldn’t be any different. From the kick off it was obvious that it would be a game of attrition and so it proved with ferocious tackling and rucking the order of the day with both sides not knowing what a backward step was.
The Rams were on the ascendancy in the first half and got the only score before half time which went unconverted to lead at the interval 5-0.
The Roosters after a roasting from Coach Rudi Koekemoer came out a different side and immediately put the Rams under pressure but superb defense kept them at bay and just when it looked like the Rams would hold on their tiring defense let in the Roosters for the equaling score. Seconds to play and the kick to come from a difficult angle and it sailed through the uprights to put the Roosters ahead 7-5. There was however time for the kick off and although the Rams pressured the Roosters line looking for that vital winning score the final whistle blew & the Roosters were 2014 Champions !!
The final was also voted game of the tournament by the refs
What a weekend of rugby superb effort by all the teams.
To the Jean Luc & all the refs who did a great job a big THANK YOU.
The supporters who came along especially Libby Grewe and the Vaga-beauts
Strategic Sports for organizing the event
The Phuket News & Class Act Media
My wife Kai, Lizzie, Bubble Bee and the team
Maria Cotter “The Rock” & Lee Kennedy
Rob Brewer for the Photos and Beauty Pageant MC
Steve & The London Pie
Athena Siam Ltd for sponsoring the Coffin Dodgers
Rhino Rugby Asia for the Ball sponsorship
Macoocoo.com event management system
Ric Parker & Khuk khak design for the program
On the ACF Charity side with all your efforts we raised 540,775 baht for the scholarship fund so you all deserve a HUGE Thanks you for that !!
The Phuket International Hospital for the medical coverage
Khun Virapol & The Thanyapura Sports Club Staff
Last but not least The Phuket Vagabonds !!
Phuket International Rugby Tens 2015
29-31 May 2015.
Hope to see you all back again next year and once again thank you for your participation. YOU create an awesome event !!
Roosters – South Africa
Phuket Vagabonds – Thailand
Alor Star Blues – Malaysia
Groote Eylandt Mucdchooks – Australia
Player of the Tournament
Joe Joe Kamana – Moorabbin Rams
Coffin Dodgers Vets Tournament
The Beige Assassins – Global
Moorabbin Rams – Australia
Bucks Bunnies – Singapore
Coffin Dodgers Player of the tournament
Warren Ansell – The Beige Assassins