What better way to get through a week at work than knowing that you’re about to head off to Phuket for a weekend of beer, sleepless nights and smashing Rugby!

After a quite phenomenal 36 hour turnaround in the Blazer acquisition field, tourer Gearstick upped the anti once more, by sorting out Express Boarding passes for everyone and ensuring that the Southerners took up their rightful position in front of everyone else. On the other hand, he did check a bag in, slowing things down at the other end – not so perfect after all, mate. A severe case of liquid mismanagement lead to fellow rookie Glovebox making the very same schoolboy error – you live and learn.

The tour started with a variety of songs being belted out in the van on route to Little Buddha(by this time the advanced party had been in the pub for 3 hrs), possibly so that we could all try and forget that we had somehow acquired a filthy Banger. No doubt that the tins supplied by Orlando Blume(Capt Jack Sparrow surely) had something to do with the high spirits. Presumably he had to get on the sauce nice and early to stop his knuckles going quite so white at the prospect of flying. Still, after fighting off the autograph hunters, he emerged intact.

A quick turnaround in our double bedded rooms (to his horror, Glovebox was to find out later exactly what sordid thoughts were going through Bearded’s head when he booked doubles). Although little did they know that one clever tourer had booked himself a superior room to himself and avoided the possibility of sharing with some skank! Thereafter it was straight out to meet some of the earlier arrivers and hit it hard. The streets had already been tarnished by the presence of J-Lo and his inability to speak English induced through copious amounts of alcohol, kicking the night off in Southerners fashion. One by one the famous J’Lo’s (Tequila followed by tomato juice and tabasco) were knocked back. The night went on to a climax with authentic Southerners pole dancing and erratic drinking. Obviously in Birmingham the tradition of sleeping on the bar is relentless, as Perkins fulfilled his heritage. No doubt this was the signal to stagger on. Whilst the various parties disbanded, Gearstick was left to fight the ominous bar-lady single handedly, who had stolen his evenings purchase of a cowboy hat. In the meantime the others had left, and Wagga was yet to finish as he launched himself into a taxi shouting “take me to the action bro!”. At 6.30am Capt J Sparrow woke to the sound of a hotel bell being penetrated by Wagga’s Ethiopian chest barely reaching the ground. A big thanks to Perkins for his efforts in saving the team from extinction (bit strong it was only Gearstick) by paying off the motorbike taxi as Gearstick proceeded to do a runner proclaiming “100 Baht you’ll be lucky if you get 20 Biatch!”

Day light broke and the only birds singing were those in the heads of the Southerners. J-Lo was severely lacking juice when he got back in. A horrendously early start saw us take to the field against the Dubai Exiles at 8:30am. Wagga stole the show by failing to unleash his famous spider tackle, but instead opted to tackle a prop head first enabling his quick exit off the field insisting he was “born to play man, born to play”. Not feeling that Wagga had been embarrassed enough Sultan then attempted to carry Wagga off over his shoulder, this earned him an immediate benching from a very shouty Baron who just wanted Wagga off so the match could continue.

Thankfully, the Exiles were USEless and Churchy got things going with a quick tap penalty and stroll through their Red Sea resembling Exiles defence. Bob added another and in the end it was exactly the standard of opposition that the Southerners needed after the previous night’s exploits. The boys were pleased with this result as the Dubai lot seemed to rate themselves a bit and weren’t best pleased to be turned over by a bunch of hungover marching clowns�

So after hitting the beach and catching up on sleep, it was time for game 2, against the Singapore Bucks Bunnies, which was a rather tighter affair. Added to this we were forming up against a former Southerner, Ultan ‘listen to me talk’ Peters, who the previous night had been talking up his hits for the match. I swear he spoke solidly for 20 minutes without taking a breath. It is possible that he breaths through his ears, as he certainly doesn’t use them to listen? Anyway the Ultan ‘cross-town express’ never showed up..

Churchy once again opened things up, just about winning a footrace and after a quick officials’ conference, it was decided that he wasn’t a cheating Seppo (or honourary Canuck as he later became) and the try was awarded(Later on when questioned he admitted ‘yeah I pushed the guy, he was in the way’). The Bucks then pulled it back, just about getting the ball down after edging over the line from a couple of yards out, but the Southerners secured the win in the dying seconds as Wagga (no longer “born to play”), beat two or three defenders and went over in the corner. It was a win that secured our passage into the Cup(really I’m sure it was the Plate!!) competition for Sunday and ‘allowed us’ to forfeit our final game in order to watch the Little England Pony Club take the Super 14 title. It was a decision that proved that the Southerners are experienced at this sort of thing as the opposition (British team, Kukri Badgers) went on to win the whole thing!

So with the inconvenience of rugby out of the way, there was a Southern invasion of a bar allowing the main event of the weekend to get underway. Sporting bandanas, wife-beaters (singlets) and truly hideous pants allowed the court session to take place. Skinny couldn’t keep his mouth shut, Churchy became Canadian and our Thai brethren bemused us all by nattering away in the corner about the service provided by various airlines. Special mention must go to J-Lo and Kris for being unable to complete the simple action of passing a jug to each other, when sitting next to each other – and then failing a further three times. Although the court session came to end, the merrymaking did no such thing and we launched into what seemed like literally hours of singing. National anthems (especially the USA anthem, due to a heavy turnout by the seppos. Bob even took the time to learn the words, not bad after 18 yrs in the Army, you think it would have come up??), rugby songs, other socially unacceptable verse were all naturally accompanied by a constant supply of beer and shots. Of course it wouldn’t be a tour unless some t**t (J-Lo who BTW has far too many mentions so far) insisted in doing the hurdles over the table causing an eruption of beer, glass and people. The day continued with ordinary dancing in the middle of it all, and it was all too much for one of the other patrons who took issue with the verse, “Get the f***ing tourists out the bar” went the cry! Now if you were the manager, who would you rather keep happy? The solitary tourist who had come in for a bite to eat and a quiet drink or the 16 rugby players who had been drinking 4 hours straight and showed no intention vacating any time soon? Tough call, eh?

Eventually we did move on in search of a place to watch the English Premiership Final. Glovebox was almost lynched, when after a 30 minute recce involving visiting an internet caf? for possible locations, we still managed to find ourselves sitting outdoors on concrete furniture. However, Perkins did manage to have his drink spiked with hot sauce and Gearstick sorted a 50 yard taxi ride for 400 Baht, so not all bad. We then found ourselves back at our original drinking hole. Where we drank more, we sang more and at various times of the night, we staggered back to our beds.

Our Sunday morning start was delayed by the lack of a van, people and inertia. We eventually arrived to be greeted by the sound of a whistle, which we found to be our kick-off which we had just forfeited. However, the Dubai Dragons sportingly agreed to play the match anyway and duly ran out 12-0 winners. So eliminated from the competition, the Southerners hit the beach, watched a few more matches and then made our way back towards the airport to head home and catch up on sleep.

All in all, it was a cracking weekend. When you throw in the ingredients of rugby, beer and a beach, would you really expect anything else? Thanks to Bearded for organising it all and to everyone else for coming along and for all their various contributions to the whole affair. Bring on the next one!!

Respect goes out to those who managed to keep their clothes on, stay out of jail, pay for their taxis and return Hotel bells, Khrap.

Day-o, Daaay-o Daylight Come And Me Want Go Home�����..

Glovebox & Gearstick

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