Pattaya rugby gains a new home

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Jim Howard, chairman of the Pattaya Panther Rugby Team (centre) and representatives from the Rugby School Thailand joined for an informal press conference in 2018 to promote this “marriage made in heaven.”
Jim Howard, chairman of the Pattaya Panther Rugby Team (centre) and representatives from the Rugby School Thailand joined for an informal press conference in 2018 to promote this “marriage made in heaven.”

April 6, 2018 – Two major events in the history of rugby as it is played in Pattaya happened in 2018.  The Pattaya Panthers Rugby Club’s 20th anniversary of its founding and the Rugby School Thailand’s completion of its construction. The culmination of these two events resulted in a “marriage made in heaven.”



The parent Rugby School of Rugby School in Thailand is of course the place where legend says the game of the oval ball was founded when William Webb Ellis, frustrated with the progress of the soccer team that he was playing for, picked up the ball and ran with it, thus creating a whole new sport.

The Pattaya Panthers Rugby Club was founded in 1998 to provide the expat community in Pattaya the opportunity to play one of the world’s great sports.  Over the years the club has welcomed all comers and has developed a much deserved reputation for both the physical aspects of the sport and more importantly the social side, leading to their worldwide reputation for the entertainment of visitors from all over the world.



Since 2000 the Panthers have hosted an annual rugby 10-a-side tournament, played as a memorial to Chris Kays, a former captain of the club who was sadly killed in the Bali bombing.  The emphasis of the tournament is enjoyment, both on and off the field, and the tournament is now one of the most prestigious in the region. (Sadly, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was cancelled for 2020.)

However, the “marriage made in heaven” saw the 18th edition of this famous tournament being played on the fields of the Rugby School Thailand over the weekend of 5th and 6th May 2018. The Panthers, delighted to have been invited to launch the playing fields at the school, look forward to the continued growth of the game in Thailand.  All pupils that pass through the school will enjoy the ethos of this now worldwide game and will help Rugby School become a centre of excellence to spread the rugby gospel and improve standards of the sport throughout Thailand.