Aussie Bar Phuket International Rugby Tens 2022
The Cobras Tour Jinx, that saw Josh Lim and David McRitchie sidelined before the Pattaya 10’s tour, struck again when prop forward, Pongborn “Folk” Piboonsri, was involved in a car crash and missed the tour. Chairman David McRitchie however, was fit and raring to go.
The lads arrived in Phuket for the Aussie Bar Phuket International Rugby 10’s, keen to make a good impression but not really with high expectations, as it was a huge step up in class, compared to the quality of opposition they faced regularly, in Chiang Mai.
The Cobras first game of the Tournament was in Group B against the XVG Gaulois Roosters, an Anglo-French side from Singapore. It was evident from the off that the pace was a lot quicker than the Cobras were used to and though they played some quality rugby and were stern in defense, the Roosters support play saw them win through 15-0 at the whistle.
The second group game was against the Phnom Penh Rahus from Cambodia, a team bristling with South Africans, Brits and the odd Fijian. The Rahus side came out of the blocks firing and after sustained pressure, scored under the posts. This Cobras side knows how to adapt and after the loss in the first game, changed up their game plan. It started to pay dividends as the forwards began to secure clean ball. Some good work by skipper Matty Valentine, drawing in 2 defenders, set up Rudy for a run in under the posts. 7-7 at half time.
The second half was an even affair with defenses having the best of it before Tor, broke through and scored with the last play of the game, to win it for the Cobras 14-7.
Game Three and the challenge of playing old friends, the Bangkok Bangers. The Cobras started well and got on the board early, when Charlie Jones Scored, cancelling out the Bangers earlier score. In the hot and humid conditions, the Cobras side began to wilt under the constant pressure and leaked some tries towards the end, losing 36-7. A rude awakening for the lads, who needed to lift their game for the last match, to have any hope of making the cup quarter finals.
Final game of the day was against current Cobra stalwart Mark “Bomber” Harris’ old club the Bucks Bin Juice from Singapore. The Cobras came out stung by the big loss to the Bangers and immediately surprised the Bucks by getting an early score on the board when Ken, dodged and sidestepped his way through, for a converted try. The Bucks however came back strong and put the Cobras line under sustained pressure, but resolute defense held them out as the whistle blew for half time. The Cobras came out for the second half and immediately got on the score card when Khacha “Tor” Wilailuk combined with Ken to score under the posts. That knocked the stuffing out of the Bucks and with Bomber ecstatic on the touchline, the Cobras ran in two late tries, to win 26-0, in what was a resounding victory, against quality opposition.
Day 2 was the knockout stages and, on the back of their two wins on day one, the Cobras had reached the cup quarter finals, to play against the other Singapore Bucks side, the Bucks Raptors. Although the lads played a solid game and were about even going into the last few minutes, the loss of Bomber on the sidelines obviously hurt the Cobras, as they ended up going down 21-7. This meant that they would now drop down into the Bowl Semi Final, playing for 5th Place in the tournament.
Bowl Semi Final
The Phnom Penh Rahus awaited the Cobras in the semi-final and though they battled hard, lack of game time had obviously worn them down over the weekend. A sterling performance by the Cobras saw them dominate the second half, with tries from Rudy, Augustine, Ken & Tor the Cobras were 24-0 winners and reached the Bowl Cup Final!
The final was against more old friends, the Southerners from Bangkok. Having lost all previous games against them in our short stint as a club, it was always going to be a hard task. Knowing that they had to strike early, the Cobras played their best rugby of the weekend in the first half and surprised the Southerners, with Ken scoring 2 tries to go in at half time, 10-0 up.
The Southerners are a class outfit and roared back into the game midway through the second half with a well worked try under the posts to make it 10-7. Wave after wave of Southerners attacks were repelled and desperate defense all across the pitch kept them out. A try saving tackle with seconds to go by Augustine Lecoq & Damian May on the Cobras line was duly turned over when the Southerners infringed and it was appropriate that Tour Leader Charlie Jones, should tap the ball and kick it dead, for an amazing 10-7 victory, that was well deserved.
Great team effort all round by the Cobras and a huge step forwards for the club. The combination of youth and experience is working well and the introduction of local talent is paying dividends.
Results For The Weekend by Macoocoo
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