Tournament Report by Ben Hainsworth and Bob Ball

The 2007 Bangkok International 10s represented one of Asia’s premier Rugby Tournaments, with 32 teams competing in the two-day event. The Southerners were one of four local teams, with the remainder of the field being made up of Internationals, from as far as Canada, France and Australia.

The lead up to the 10s tournament for the Southerners was intense! Reed “The Whip” Passmore and co pilot, Marty O’Driscoll ensured that the administrative, physical and emotional levels of all players was at an all time peak (…we even had one full training session!). The focus in the lead up was not so much about the rugby, but more about the new team strip that O’Driscoll masterminded. From dress fittings, online voting for the final design and individualising the jersey, with players name, country flag and sponsors, some of the boys were considering renaming him, Marty ‘OCD’ Driscoll. Regardless, he delivered on his promise and at the beginning of the Tournament; the Southerners were the talk of the event, at least with respect to our impressive team kit and the rumor that Arny Schwarzenegger was going to make his rugby debut!

With the support of our sponsors, BJ Services, BDS Steel Detailers, SFA Chapter 3 Erawan, Herbert Smith and Pepsi we entered Pool G where we were to face up against the Cambodian Billabong Sharks, The Insead Singaporean Barbarians and the RBAC Thai University.

The first game on the Saturday was against the Billabong Sharks from Phnom Phen. Our presence was felt from the very beginning of the game, when Richie Perkins (aka Atkins Diet), who spread the ball to the backs and ended in the hands of speedster Josh “Jet” Black who crossed for the first of many tries over the weekend. This impressive team display was carried on with actually seven tries being scored by seven different players – it’s not often that 70% of the team scores! The final score was Southerners 36 – 5 Billabong Sharks.

The second game saw us play the Insead Singapore Barbarians. We faced a physically larger team, but again, from the kick off and through some excellent ball security from the forwards, we were over the line within the first minute. Once again Richie “Atkins Diet” Perkins, demonstrated what a man is capable of when you reduce your drinking, at least until, after pm and how a little fitness can lift your game. Richie went on to annihilate two of their forwards and was so fired up that he refused to be substituted by Manager, Neily Smith. With play makers, Reed Passmore and Jay breaking the defence at every chance, tries were soon awarded to relative newcomers Mark Chiswell, Calum Stevenson, Joel Gibson and Mark Anderson. The try line was also threatened on two occasions by a torpedoing Marty O’Driscoll, who unfortunately, on both occasions forgot to catch the ball before crossing the line. The final score read Southerners 46 – 0 Insead Singapore Barbarians.

Although riding a well deserved wave of confidence, the Southerners by no means underestimating their next opponents; the RBAC Thai University. With the loss of a few playmakers to the New Zealand Ball, the Southerners realised a tough next match against a fit, fast and unpredictable Thai University side. Taking to the pitch in the second last game of the day, with a rapidly setting sun, and even faster fading energy levels of the players, the Southerners were tested for the first time that day. The RBAC team, who later went on to take out the third division ‘Bowl’, crossed the line first to go one try up. The Southerners soon found themselves having to readjust their game plan to accommodate for their unpredictable opponents. Once this had been done, Jet Black hit a gap and scored in the far corner, levelling the scores before half time. Then Khun Gook scored to take the Southerners ahead. With only 1 minute to go before full time, a penalty was awarded to the Southerners and the deputy captain, Ben ‘Smonty’ Hainsworth was called to kick for touch. Slicing the ball off the side of the boot, the ball was taken with ease by the full back, the Thai equivalent to sprinter Michael Johnson who raced towards the try line, until Reed “Quickly to be Reinstated as Captain” Passmore, made a match winning tackle. With the sounding of the full time whistle the Southerners breathed a sigh of relief, with a final score of Southerners 12 – 5 RBAC Thai University.

*Note: Ben Hainsworth’s new official nick name competition names so far are 1: “the Hack” 2: “I should have used a five iron” 3: “Tiger Woods”

At the end of the first day, the Southerners, were clear winners in Pool G and were out rightly leading the competition based on points for and against. However, after a serious court session, in which all players were called to task for various acts of heroism, stupidity or transgender issues (i.e. Joel ‘Arnie’ Gibson with his soi 4 ‘Men’s Flex’ magazine), there was some ground swell to continue the celebrations and cash in the 1000 free beer vouchers at The Office. Meanwhile, Jay was performing the Haka at the Kiwi Ball and with Kris ‘beer wench” Harmstring offering support to anyone who was still standing, the team was starring down the barrel of a very slow and hung-over Sunday morning.

However, after a healthy team breakfast, consisting of a nutritious hamburger, meat pie and coke, the boys were geared up to take on French Asian Barbarians (FABS1) in the Quarter Finals. Now the Southerners Brains Trust at this stage thinks: 1. Give it all and play for the Cup 2. If we lose, play for the Plate. 3. If we loose again get pissed (all good and viable options). With Jean and Laurent sworn to silence during the game, for fear of a French war of words (gibberish!), we entered the match expecting a physical encounter. Again however, the combination of a very mobile forward pack, combining with some pace and good ball handling in the back line meant that we were always in control of the game. Final score Southerners 19 – 5 French Asian Barbarians

Following this game, the boys soon realised that there was no turning back: if we lost, we be knocked out of the tournament and with our next opponents had been earmarked as one of the teams to win the tournament! The New Zealand Legends were a technically and physically solid team and we knew it was going to be tough encounter. After rupturing my cerebellum from a head high tackle, my recollection of this game was a little blurry, but our defence was tested and we rose to the challenge, downing the Kiwi’s Southerners 21 – 12 NZ Legends.

Undefeated and having played all but one match on the main field, the Southerners were the resounding underdogs of the tournament, who, through some inspirational team work, communication, commitment and obvious rugby talent had found ourselves in the final of the International Bangkok 10s against hot favourites, The Australian Tomahawks. Consisting of an Ex – Wallaby, Australian-A, Australian School Boys and several first grade Sydney University players and a bunch of hardened Rugby League players, the Tomahawks were truly a physically and technically superior team. With a crowd of close to 1000, the Southerners were the home favorites and took to the field with a ‘give it your all’ attitude. With nerves running high, we made a few handling errors early which gave the Tomahawks an advantage and they capitalized! Through some excellent scrummaging and effective work around the ruck, the Tomahawks threw the ball wide and Jack Farrar crossed in the corner. Farrer combined with Sydney University teammate, Dan Lewinski, to put on four tries in the first half and the Tomahawks went ahead 26-0 at the half way mark.

After the break, the Southerners came out with a changed attitude, greater focus and determination! With some great forward work the Southerners gained possession early in the piece and sent the ball out to winger, Khun Gook who hit his straps down the grandstand side of the ground. With the crowd on their feet, Gook was gradually being chased down by four defenders, so he smartly decided to chip ahead and then toed the ball towards the try line. Within meters of the try line and 100% certainty that he was to score, he was pulled back by a very unsportsmanlike Tomahawk, who later admitted that it was a low act! A penalty was subsequently awarded and we continued to threaten their line. The break came from Reed, who after getting the ball from the lineout, ran towards the defense, stepped, dumbied and with a perfectly delayed pass, drew the defense in, created a gap and Jason Findley went barging through to score under the posts. Apart from that try the other noteworthy moments in the final, that the Bangkok Post and the Nation forgot to mention, was the fend of all fends from Jean-Marciel – otherwise referred to as “Palm Sunday” and the facial readjustment that Reed gave the Tomahawks captain (the only injuries that the Tomahawks sustained in the event were from the final against us! Three players were taken to hospital to receive stitches. Not encouraging violence in anyway, it was a sure sign that we gave everything we had to the Tomahawks!). Final score Southerners 7 – 26 Australian Tomahawks.

As the sun set over the Pattana grounds on Sunday night, the Southerners gathered together to reflect on the tournament. There were awards or fines (depending on which way you look at it) for Southerners debutants, for those who missed tackles, for the French (definitely a fine!), for playing for other teams during the competition, for memorable tries, for the organizers of the team and the weekend (i.e. Marty, Reed and Neil), and then there was some more punishment for being French! Overall, from a field of 32 teams, and being one of only 4 local teams, the Southerners boys had come together, bonded, had fun and played some great rugby and exceeded all expectations (mainly our own!). The success of the Southerners, both on and off the pitch, at the 2007 Bangkok International 10s represents an awesome start to the year ahead and highlights the strength of the club, which only has the potential to grow and be more successful in the future and I think we are all looking forward to it.

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Bangkok 10s Spectator Quotes for 2007 by Nicole Stanners

1. With a weekend of Rugby, a Kiwi Ball and certain 4 ex Southerner crazies in town from Hong Kong for the occasion, before the weekend even started a call was made in order to pace ourselves.
– “I think operation hydration is called for Mel (one drink, one water)…”

2. The fashion stakes were high from the word go! But maybe not the appropriate attire for something of this caliber…
– “You are all fined for wearing mini skirts!”
– “Hodgies rugby fashion update: sexy minis, heels n 24hr sunnies”
– “Someone just out bedazzled Hodgie!’
– “XXX, may chose never to wear a mini again after being picked up and thrown onto one of the Canadian guys shoulders…yes, one of the boys wearing the white satin jocks with the Canadian flag imprinted on the front”
– “Pregnant women are a turn on”

3. But the male attire even less appropriate� (especially the Canadian Team’s tight white speedos with maple leaves on the front)
– “Regarding the white speedos… I did a little research and was disappointed to find out the contents were less than impressive…(but I did receive a handy tip that number 2 on the clippers is better than shaving as it prevents ingrown hairs)…”

4. Some spectators were clearly trying to be fined with their enthusiastic show of support (or trying to get their friends fined!) or using that to their advantage..
– “Go Wagga�!”
– “Give me a J, give me an A�”
– “I am a thirsty spectator, I need a refill�I earned it”

5. As the weekend wore on the beer goggles did not fail us�no one falling prey to any randy players, only sexy ones�
– One Spectator was an avid supporter of the New Zealand team and apparently “Had the biggest smile on her face and copped the biggest fine of all because of this”
– One spectator was hit on by a Banger who had “seen her around at these things for many years”.
– On Sunday she was quoted as saying – – ” I have now officially been here for too long�where is my collection hat for my plane ticket out of here”
– And then on Monday – “Am about to now go Google the Bangers website and track down the aforementioned old bugger…. cheeky devil”

6. As dusk fell and with fine sessions happening for all teams, the spectators clearly felt left out so decided on two tactics to divert their attention and disrupt these sessions. Number 1 – A diversion and Number 2 – starting a far juicier fine session of their own.
– Number 1 Diversion Quote…
– “She streaked and was missed by a Jamboy, then tackled by a Southerner…”
– “I must say I quite enjoyed feeling the cool evening breeze tickling my nipples but was a bit taken aback by the grass rash on my bottom”
– “Always wear matching underwear”
– Number 2 Diversion Quote…
– “We need more beer there are too many fines here”
– At one point, the rugby teams tried their own diversion tactics to disrupt our fines session showing everyone that “Jamboys have manginas”
– However, our determination was strong, and many beers downed despite the teasing of “I remember when the Southerners were fun” being absolutely “USE-LESS” against several refusals of formerly “FUN” Southerner men to “take off your pants and dance, man, dance!”

7. As the night wore on, things got messier and the player more opportunistic
– “I am still disinfecting my mouth”
– ‘I am sure we can just leave the window open a crack so Ron can breath when we lock him in the car”
– “It ended with a “naked party” – yes N.A.K.E.D……every single one of the Tomahawks – old and young – the winning Aussie team – ripped off their kit and were dancing and playing pool!!!!!”
– “I know I get horribly slutty when I’m drunk, but I promise to stay away from your men!”

8. After the weekend was over, the call was made from a local
– “Thank god there is a year between these annual events!! It takes that long to reconstruct it”

9. From someone who was not present when it spiraled into a circus
– “Clearly I left way too early on Sunday!!!!!”

10. And one of the Hong Kong visitors
– “I think I missed the best part of the weekend. If there are any photo’s floating around, be sure to cc me in on them.”

11. Lastly, the breaking news is…
– “CLUB NEWS: Official notification and dubbing of the Southerner’s secondary watering hole “The Office”; hereafter to be referred to fondly by the Ladies Southerners as “The Orifice”. Ladies Southerners adopt new club theme song “Why are we waiting….” you know the rest.”