3-18 SEPTEMBER 2005

After a highly enjoyable, yet frustrating, first season of rugby last year, 2 things became abundantly clear to me:

1. There is ample opportunity to play high quality and enjoyable rugby in Thailand.

2. The TRU is a joke and can’t be relied on to provide for the above.

Therefore the only solution lay in arranging our own games, with our own officials and at venues and times to suit. There has always been a healthy rivalry between the Southerners and the British Club, and it seemed obvious that we arrange a fixture or series of fixtures together.

Very quickly the enthusiasm for the concept took hold someone suggested that we approach the Ambassadors of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and UK with a view to “legitimising” the series. The New Zealand Ambassador, HE Mr Peter Rider, was a fervent supporter from the start, and with his help the Ambos of the other 3 countries all agreed to dig deep into their tax payer’s pockets and club together to purchase the very first Ambassadors Cup!

The Bangkok Post and Nation newspapers as well as the Big Chilli magazine all promoted the series, and ESPN covered the final game as part of a ‘Celebration of Rugby in Bangkok.

The games themselves where all extremely hard fought affairs and lived up to the hype of the tournament and the traditional rivalry of the 2 clubs. Game 1 on the 10th Sept saw Southerners overcome a 15-0 deficit at half time to win the game 20-15. What a display of guts and heart it was! MVP was Chris Doherty.

Game 2 was disappointing from a Southerners point of view and we went down 13-0. Jason Findlay was MVP and the series was delicately poised at 1-1 going into the final match on the 24th Sept!

The final games was an absolute cracker. The Southerners took an early lead which they held until the final 5 minutes, when a spirited BC came back to score 2 quick tries and snatch the cup from out of our grasp.

Every single Southerners player on the field that day gave every ounce of energy they had, and although losing was terribly disappointing, we know we did everything we could, so we could hold our heads high. It would be unfair to pick out individual performers from such a team effort, other than to say the hard man of the club, Usa was voted MVP by the BC. For the record Southerners went down 20-18.

Finally and very importantly indeed, the true spirit of rugby came through in this series with BC and Southerners all giving their bestoff the field at the 3 after match functions at Robin Hood, Londoner and the BC. Without being biased, for the record Southerners did win the off the field series 3-0! Our supporters led by Andrew Minnitt did their bit in the department too!

On a charitable note, the Southerners players all dug deep into their pockets to contribute to the Kedmanee Fund, and it was indeed very touching to see her receive her gift from the Bangkok Rugby Community and Guinness at the final awards dinner. It really puts everything else into perspective.

The inaugural Ambassadors Cup was generously supported by Guinness, a valued Southerners sponsor, and Raja’s Fashions, Big Chilli Magazine, CoreTalk SMS Solutions, Gatorade, and also the British Club themselves who hosted the end of series awards function at their club house in Silom.

Ronnie Rutland
more photos here:

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