Bangkok Tour Blog – Day 2: Thursday morning saw the crew wake for a long training session at Patana, before waiting on news about the days scheduled game with Bangkok Lions. On finally hearing that the game would be called off as the opposition couldn’t get their team together on a weeknight – which was very frustrating – the squad was given the afternoon off. A number travelled to the centre of Bangkok to visit the Aquarium, and others got to watch a movie and hit a karaoke bar…
Bangkok Tour Blog – Day 3: The squad were rested Friday morning, as there were training activities and a possible match scheduled with Phuket Lomas on Friday afternoon. In the free time the whole tour group travelled in to the centre of Bangkok to see Wat Triamet, the temple with the golden Buddha. Little did we know the queen was visiting the temple that day, so we never gained access, but did enjoy the throngs of people and festival atmosphere with the smells of cooking from the many street side stalls stunning the olfactory senses.
On return to the training ground, the boys were called in to play a game with the JamBoys, a mix of ex-international sevens players, who traditionally play with some flair and pizzazz. They had a fantastic session with them and certainly learned to have fun while passing the ball around! A touch rugby match with Nak Suu’s men’s team followed – they are comprised of pacific islanders based in Thailand, and was a fitting training session to have following Wednesdays game with the charity’s junior side.
We were just boarding the bus back to the hotel when we learned we could play a game against a team that had just travelled up to Bangkok – after a 17 hour bus ride (the Bangkok traffic was terrible on Friday). However, as plans were conspiring against us, we were ordered to leave the school we had used as a training ground, as the pitches needed to be watered….now…. in this tropical paradise…. So we never managed to play that game either, but not to worry, there’s a lot of rugby coming over the weekend.
Bangkok Tour Blog – Day 4: An early morning kick-off, very early, 8am, means a 6.45am meeting for the bus at the hotel. With alarm clocks still ringing we dashed down for breakfast and off to the Bangkok International 10s. We were scheduled in the U12s tournament, as the school year here falls differently than in Dubai, and 4 of our players would officially be in U12. Our pool involved playing 6 matches today – 2 against each of Nak Suu, Bangkok Lions and a Thai school called Pramoch. We won three, drew one and lost two matches, which placed us second in the pool for the day. Pramoch was a spirited, but not very strong side, and we won those matches with confidence. The first game that we played against the BKK Lions was a very physical affair, and our team was overcome with the reality of playing some bigger boys and trying to battle them for possession in the breakdown – not a good idea. We lost the match 3 tries to 2, but it was a good lesson in formulating and following a game plan to keep the contest out of the breakdown, which we did in the second game which we drew. Our first game against Nak Suu resulted in a win, whilst the second we lost – after the sudden appearance of some bigger lads who were yards faster than any 12 year old could be… The result wouldn’t change the log position, so we move into the final day in second place with a semi final kickoff at 9.30am on Sunday.
We tried to get to see a MuayThai fight this afternoon. It involved a taxi ride, a train ride, a metro ride and a short walk through Bangkok to get to the boxing stadium – only to find it derelict and relocated to not far from where we’re staying. The tour gods have been conspiring against us. We couldn’t now get from this stadium to the new one on time for the evenings rounds of entertainment. There was however, a boxing gym operating upstairs, and they called the squad in to watch some of their fighters training. Our kids sat in awe as the fighters were drilled by their trainers. The fitness of these guys is incredible, and the strength and endurance of these Muay Thai fighters is phenomenal. You don’t want to be kicked by one of them. After returning to the hotel we found a great restaurant in Bangna on Saturday night, and boys and parents enjoyed themselves – might be a good place for tomorrows post tournament team dinner.
Bangkok Tour – Day 5: Bangkok International 10s finals day. We had 2 matches to get through today, a semi-final and final. Once again we were drawn against Nak Suu Tigers in the semi. We’ve really had a great introduction to this charity side and they are a spirited bunch. Warriors mojo clicked into place, and sublime handling and inter play secured a convincing win.
We managed to get some last minute skills drills under our belts before the final against Bangkok Lions, which the Warriors team had psyched themselves up for. We were not going to be bullied in the breakdown like yesterday, and all players were committed to ensuring the match went our way. When the ref’s whistle blew for the start, our boys changed gear, and played an absolute blinder of a match. The defence was spectacular, and with quick recycling of the ball we managed to get 2 tries on the board. An unfortunate intercept try from a period of intense pressure by Warriors on the Lions line let them get back to within one score. And then a few tense moments of stoppage time for medical treatment for Man of the Match Lachie Rubens, who had found himself under a pile of bodies, had everyone holding their breaths for the final whistle, which when it came, resulted in scenes of jubilation as our team of mighty Warriors danced in Victory.
To win the Cup was a fitting end to an enjoyable first tour for this squad, and for Warriors. The squad returns now to Dubai, as heros on the field for securing a championship victory, and off the field for championing the cause of those less fortunate in Bangkok.
Thanks to all sponsors and individuals who’ve made this tour such a huge success.