Phuket International 10’s Rugby Tour 2018

A Tour through the eyes of a female Panther AKA ‘The Witch’

Twenty tourists embarked on a journey to Phuket on Friday, 25 May, 2018. Despite one of our tourists not booking a place on the flight prior to arriving at the airport (AD), all tourists boarded the flight with minutes to spare (due to a healthy stop at McDonalds and Burger King).

A sea of pink on the flight, ready for a refreshing beverage; however, the transport manager fell responsible for a flight which served no beer. Due to a Panther’s need to stay hydrated at all times, this discovery was highly frowned upon by many a tourist. Some tourists verbalized their disappointment more than others (Rob).

On arrival, the Panthers set out in their shiny, satin, and perfectly designed for humidity, pink robes to Bangla Road ‘Walking Street’. The fine tour guide gracefully guided the Panthers to their first pit stop where the most talented of Panthers provided some form of entertainment, which did not get a cheer for an encore.

The night continued to unfold, resulting in some Panthers seeing the sun rise. A perfect pre-game preparation technique. Sleep deprivation.

Day 1 – The appearance of the pink tourists received a cheer on arrival at the Phuket Rugby stadium grounds, either due to the surprise they hadn’t been swallowed by Walking Street or due to their hungover, unstable catwalk like staggers in their glorious, pink robes.

'Ready' for their first game against ‘The Beaver Nomads’, The Panthers slipped into their new, pink kit for the first time; however, some Panthers required 2-3 men to assist in stretching the shirt over their finely tuned, muscular body. Whether the Panthers could breathe in this attire, was questionable.

A close first game against The Nomads kicked off. The Captain, Chris Mander received his first try for the tournament and Joe Edama proudly received his first try of the season. However, the result ended in The Nomads getting the final edge and winning the match 12-10. Perhaps the Panthers got too much sleep before this 11am kick off.

A Small break and The Panthers faced ‘Old Man Mix’ and took away a phenomenal Panther win, 41-0. The food and beverage team had clearly energized the Panther squad sufficiently in time for their 14:00 KO.

Finally, The Pink Panthers came up against the reigning champions, ‘The Phuket Vagabonds’. A tough game with some strong runs from Chris Miles and Tom Edwards, just couldn’t break through the Vagabonds wall and sadly ended in a 26-0 loss for the Panthers.

Despite this, The Panthers were on high spirits after an impressive first day of rugby and headed back for their short 2 ½ hour court session, where many tourist virgins would discover that there is always someone watching and listening on tour.

Day 2- The Rooster (Marc) kindly played music up and down the corridor for all guests staying in the vicinity at the early hour of 7:00 am Sunday morning. Ready for The Panthers 9:00am KO, whether or not you were a Panther in the building, you received this beautiful wake up call. First to arrive pitch side, The Panthers were in a state of worry that their opponents had been intimidated by some of the squads’ podium dancing abilities from the previous night.

Yet, ‘Old Man Mix’ arrived sober and ready to compete. Regardless of one Panther being taken hostage and not turning up for the first match (Colin), Pattaya Panthers took the win by 26-5. A crushing tackle by Tom Edwards on a player who averaged at least half his age was greeted by some shock from the crowd and Bong Edama’s first rugby game appearance was eagerly welcomed by The Panthers. Tom Edwards stormed through and scored 2 tries for the Panthers alongside Marcus Large and Franco Vorster using their strength and impulsive power to pierce through Old Man Mixes defence to score 2 more tries.

Confirming The Panthers concern, a win by default from ‘The Dubai Wasps’ in The Bowl Semi-Final was given. This reinforced suspicions of The Panthers short robes and social antics on Bangla Road being a form of Haka pregame intimidation ritual. Following this, a social game of touch was sported from ‘The Asian Japanese Dragons’ witnessing Spike Andrews score a dramatic diving try in his underwear.

Following this, the lost Panther kindly rejoined the squad holding a hospital appointment card and a strapped up, suspicious finger injury.

The Bowl Final was to be held against The Gold Coast Barbarians, so The Panthers got strapped up and prepared for their final debut. Two strong sides, it seemed that The Panthers had met their match. Some strong runs from Andrea Bellato and Yuji Kitahara breaking through Gold Coast’s defence. Brute strength from Alex McInnes, Pongipat Pongsima and Harrison Fletcher resulted in a long term panther, Douglas Bursill scoring a well-deserved try in the corner.

The Panthers continued the pressure and gained their second try off a dropped ball and with Tom Edwards’ Panther like speed, The Gold Coast Barbarians conceded a second try. A final score of 10-10 and a decision to decide the winner with a boat race meant The Panthers had to prepare 10 of their finest athletes.

Despite Pongipat’s superior skills in the boat race, The Panthers couldn’t compete with the Gold Coast Barbarians twisting technique. The Bowl Cup win was stolen by the Barbarians, but The Panthers gladly received their silverware for the runners up position. The captain, Chris Mander, accepted it with pride.

"We are the Panther Boys, we play in pink, and when on tour, we like to …. DRINK"

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