For the first time in History, the Phuket 10s Coffin Dodgers competition was held one day ahead of the main tournament.
So it’s on Thursday afternoon, on their own and Weasel Cup in hand that the Old Boys finally met at the airport, 2 hours before the take-off time. Our first game was already in everybody’s mind but the distribution and dressing of the tour T-Shirt and tour hat, follow by few energetic drinks helped to relax the atmosphere.
As usual there was always somebody who arrived after everybody but this time it was for a good cause. Our old blind kiwi Ref, M. SIGNAL to not name him, was in charge to collect and bring our new playing kit, freshly manufactured & delivered at X-Treme facilities….
So boarding pass in hand, we slowly move the right gate without forgetting to make a pit stop at the beer shop and at the Bangkok Airways lounge where, in 5 mins, we cleaned most of the grub out.
The flight was then, just a waste of time, as despite the fact that apart from us nobody was on the plane. We finished all the beers on the plane (29 which was less than 2 per persons) in 20 mins.
So it’s with a dry throat but well rested that we arrived in Phuket.
Luckily, Foxy and Jake, our tour organizers had anticipated this inconvenience and didn’t forget to give the instruction to have cool boxes full of beers in each bus.
So the travel from the airport to the hotel was just a beer level recovering and a singsong training session.
As usual the night in Phuket, started with a cold beer at the beach bar, followed by few others in different places but at 10 pm everybody was in bed for an early night….
Friday morning started with the usual breakfast on Tina’s terrace where everybody described in details the sweet dreams of their previous night….
As soon the speaker announced the Bangers, our entrance in the Karon national stadium attracted a lot of attention and we could easily perceived anxiety coming out from our opponents.
As luck would have it, our first game was already the game we could not loose. Indeed for the second time of the year the Weasel cup was into play and the occasion to smash the local Phuket Viagrabonds was again given to us.
And we did it again…..
Our traditional rugby style which consisted of using the forwards as battering ram and then let our flying backs finish the work, lead to a well deserved 19-5 victory.
The locals tried to counter this power by recruiting a Fijian prop who look like Carlos with hair but he quickly understood that when Andy Campbell is on his best, it’s better to be on the wing…
Regarding their backs, who were supposed to be their strong point, they may have seen the ball twice during the whole game and they had to take the tackles of our backline lead by the tremendous half backs : Badger, Hamish & Hollywood.
After 20 mins, the referee finally decided to stop their ordeal and the Weasel Cup would go back to its base Home, Wall Street in Bangkok.
All the Bangers squad has to be congratulated, including the supporters in charge of the water supply who had run as much as the players.
The second game saw us opposing the Cairns Old Crocs from Australia.
This team with an age average well over 35 did their best but once again our power and the non-English flair of our backs rid them of their illusions.
With a final score of 50-0 we were definitively qualified for the Cup semi-final and as the previous year, we had to face the Extinct Volcanoes from Philippines.
As well as being the youngest vets team of the tournament they had also the advantage to have an extra hour of rest between their last game and the semi final. This did not prevent us to start the game at top speed.
During the first 5 mins they spent their time defending but on the first mistake on our side they used their young and fresh legs to make the difference and score the first try of the game.
This had the effect to increase our motivation and 2 mins later after a repetition of rucks and pick & go we finally leveled the score just before the half time.
The second half was too much for us and the age weight did not help us at all.
It has to be noted that the nervousness on the Volcanoes side lead them to make moves which have no place on a rugby pitch and this especially in a Vets competition.
Coach Peter, trying to re-inject some new blood by rolling the subs but we could not stop the kick and chase from the Philippinos and the 3 tries which resulted from it.
The final score of 24-7 for the volcanoes and the way the tournament was organized did not allow us to have a run on Sunday.
Never mind, the beers and song on the way back to the hotel and the Weasel Cup in hand help us to forget quickly this disappointment and all our remaining forces will be use to support the Bangers Colts.