Following a month of restrictions, which curtailed gathering for training sessions and the cancellation of a touring 15s game against the Bangkok Bangers, the island’s rugby players are keen to ignite an element of competitive rugby and help influence a return to regularly attended sports activities.
Excitingly, the series format will be played as full contact, rather than the touch variation regularly enjoyed during training sessions, giving the players an opportunity to exhibit their full repertoire of rugby abilities.
The club’s panel of players has been separated into two teams (reds and blues), and while this series begins as an internal competition, club officials are hoping it will further expose rugby to the Phuket public and generate greater interest in regard to increasing participation both at adult and youth levels.
Captain of the ‘reds’, Paul Rothwell is looking forward to the inaugural competition and success for his side: “The build-up to the match has been great, as the intensity between the two teams has been building as we get closer to the big day on Saturday.
“The players on both teams have been pushing themselves in training and we’ve had great player turn outs at our sessions since the announcement of the teams.
“I hope this event can be a way to promote rugby participation on the island, and its great preparation for when we can be involved with more competitions throughout Thailand later in the year.
“I think it’s going to be a close and competitive game, with talk of “Big Hits” coming from the Reds and the Blues. I’m excited to see how it all pans out and we’re glad that restrictions have been lifted to allow some support for the players who will leave it all on the pitch for their teams,” Rothwell said.
Dave Walker will captain the ‘blues’ and promises a thoroughly spirited series, with friendships put aside until the final whistle blows.
“All the players, coaches and supporters have been looking forward to this since the idea arose,” he said.
“It’s added great purpose and intensity to training and the competitive banter makes sure everyone will not be holding anything back. We’ll all be friends again afterwards though, and we hope to make this a regular event.”
In addition to the upcoming sevens series, the Vagabonds will soon announce their next academy training date, with the anticipated introduction of a regular schedule also planned.