I know you normally leave this part to last but I would just like to start by saying a huge thank-you to the two guys who made this tour possible, Major Bob(demoted due to kit failure) and Darrel, but in particular Bob(especially as it was probably Bob’s last tour with The Southerners).
It is often a thankless task and these guys are always there getting us to games on time (most of) and making sure we know what the hell is going on.
Cheers Guys!

Right…. On with the tour

Two groups of Southerners set off on Friday to play in the Phuket 10’s, one group took the early flight which left in the afternoon, the other left in the evening.
I shall now begin the story of carnage and chaos and of how we actually played some pretty awesome rugby and smashed our arch rivals (the Bangers and The British Club).

We start this tour off from the airport and having only been there for half an hour we encounter our first problem.
Belly (one of only a few Southerners who actually brings sun block along) had his confiscated by airport security. This decision proved to have a huge impact on the condition of our skin in the days to come.

So we finally get on the plane looking forward to getting on the piss and for the flight to be over ASAP (for one specific individual who shall remain nameless). We land at Phuket International airport knowing that it should be hassle free because everyone knows NOT to have checked in their bags, so we should be able to go straight through to where the vans are and be on our merry way, well… not everyone. There is always one clown who has to slow us down (Hooey!).

Hooey checked in his bloody bag because he had some sort of perfume which he did not want confiscated, however, we later discovered it could have been carried on as hand luggage anyway because it was under 100ml!
This delay cut into some serious drinking so we made a note for Hooey to be heavily fined later on.

Once we get to the hotel, we drop our bags off and then head straight to the Aussie bar where we meet up with the rest of the team and see some familiar faces (Sultan, Kris and Churchy) and some new ones ( Nathan and Mike).They were all on the earlier flight and had been drinking for several hours already!
We had a lot of drinking to catch up on and after drinking there for a couple of hours we slowly split up into smaller groups and descend upon the bars like white on rice.
Now I don’t what the hell these 3 guys were thinking of (Ritchie, Belly and Toby) but is was certainly entertaining watching them attempt to sing?

Belly, Toby and Ritchie ended up in a random live music bar that night entertaining patrons (or slowly destroying their ear drums), by shouting backup vocals of the cover-band’s Lionel Ritchie 1981 classic ‘Endless love’, with Ritchie and Toby nearly knocking over the fish tank in the process.
This sort of behavior carried on through the night until it was finally time to head back to the hotel for some shut eye.

Thank god our first game was at 10 am on Saturday as everyone got back about 4 in the morning and were not exactly alert. However, one individual took it to the next level and didn’t even return to the hotel. (Dangerous) Brian stayed out the whole night playing pool (!) in some small, dirty bar and got back just in time for the bus to leave for our first match on Saturday.

We had hoped to have a warm up before we played but that idea gradually faded as we walked from the van to the pitch.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our new sponsor’s VB for providing us with excellent new playing shirts which were used for the first time and Pure Blonde beer for contributing.
We had several teams comment on how good they looked and wanted to purchase some shirts for themselves as well.
Also, thanks again to JP and Crown Relocations for their continuing support, we are all very grateful.

Our first match on Saturday was against the defending Champions (Kukri Badgers), the team we had forfeited a match to last year to go and watch the Super 14 Finals. I think it was no coincidence that the organizers had arranged for them to be our fist opponents.

We played average and lost but we still had plenty left in the tank and won our other 2 groups games against our old enemies (The British Club) 17 – 0 and a new team (The Bucks), 15-0.
While playing against the Bucks, the ref seemed to take a dis-liking to Major Bob and sent him off for 3 minutes to the sin bin, but we stood firm and didn’t concede any tries.
We always seem to play the BC and we played some good attacking rugby and scored some lovely tries and our defense was fantastic to keep a clean sheet in both games, this also secured our place in the plate competition.

The temperature soared as we got into the afternoon on Saturday, in the stadium it was like being trapped in a huge oven. Belly managed to find a ‘Batcave’ which had an AC in it (smart) to relax in, the rest of us just cooked outside and had several layers of skin burned off in the process.
Poor Brian could hardly stay awake after a night of no sleep, so about half-way through the day, Tim took Brian back to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Soon after Brian gets back we get a call saying he can’t find his wallet anywhere, inside were his cards and 6000Bt cash. We looked everywhere but could not find it (sorry mate).
Also Bob’s mate’s (Mike) had his bag stolen which included a laptop, passport and other stuff( that was really harsh man!)
Hooey (sorry to pick on you again) would also lose his dignity when we went out later that night.

After an enjoyable day of playing and watching rugby we then went back to the hotel and organized the fine session at the swimming pool ( AND THERE WERE PLENTY OF FINES TO GO AROUND!).
It was quite worrying when I look back now because I don’t remember anyone going for a piss and the water temperature seemed to be getting warmer plus there was a strange aroma in the air…. weird.
We had our usual anthem singing, from Canada to New Zealand , although I don’t know what Nathan was singing ‘coze it sure as hell wasn’t the Canadian anthem!
Laurent was fined for being the only French man as well and Hooey again for being useless in general.

After the fine session we headed off to the Scruffy Irishman for a feed, some beers and to watch The Lions play.

We stayed in the pub for a couple of hours then all of us marched on to several dodgy outside bars where Hooey and Munn started doing some pole dancing which then kinda turned into a competition of who was the best. Munn stripped down to his boxers and managed to find a giant wooden penis and proceeded to prance around flashing the monster on stage, while Hooey danced on the opposite side trying to impress the ladies with his Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake dance moves…
Obliviously the girls were not impressed so we slowly dragged ourselves to another club. Nathan at this point was so wasted, he was not able to walk (soft!) and was being carried around by his lovely girlfriend Sarah.

On to Sunday and our fist game was against another team we were familiar with, The Pot Bellied Pigs. Despite their name, they can be quite a useful side on their day.
This time we more focused and we were ruthless in our execution and passing of the ball, Hooey scored 2 lovely tries and we upped our level of intensity, we won convincingly 24-5.

At 13:00hrs was our next game, we were into the plate quarter finals. It was gonna be real bone cruncher/back breaker of a game because we were going to play the Bangers who have a nasty habit of beating us in recent history.
So we all really wanted to prove a point and smash them into the ground, and to be honest that’s exactly but we did.
I can’t remember the last time we actually managed to stop a Bangers team from scoring a try. Our forwards really fronted and tackled ferociously and were also up against a bigger Bangers pack. Guys like Toby, Ritchie and Belly really giving everything they had to make sure the scrums held so our backs got good ball to work with.
In the backs everyone played their part. Hooey, Will and Joe were immense and ran great lines to then link up well to score the first of two tries.
The Bangers threw everything at us but we just stood our ground and forced them back until they made unforced errors, final score 12-0. The defense I witnessed reminded me of when Scotland beat England in the Calcutta Cup 3 years ago…. Awesome!

We had a short break of about 20 minutes then onto the semi finals where we lost in a close fought game against the Flying Muppets. We could have beaten them but a few decisions went against us and the score at the end of the day was 12-5.

However, there was something good to come out of losing, we were able to chill out and relax at the beach.
Everyone needed to have a rest so it was great to have a few beers and go for a swim. This is where about half of us then departed to go to the airport. We said our farewells to everybody and off we went.

All in all, I think the tour was great success and the only tour that I have been on where I was a supporter instead of playing.

Calum “I look like a pirate” Stevenson

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