Rugby’s rambling rejuvenation


Pattaya could be considered a city that rejuvenates.  New life is bred (literally and figuratively) from the old.  There is something for everyone: Trying something new, experiencing things again, a new environment, reliving the old days and to some living on borrowed time.

That being said, there is one sport that gave me much pleasure before that exist here and now in Pattaya – Rugby Union.  There are many that can talk, but only the few can do, and for those wishing to relive/recondition/reestablish memories of rugby, Pattaya Panthers offers an opportunity to reclaim some past glory.

My rugby career was brief but contains a few interesting stories.  My first experience of rugby was seen from on the pitch.  A friend (acquaintance might be a better word considering) asked me to tag along to watch a game.  Only 14 players travelled and being considered the fittest supporter, I was made number 15 and press-ganged onto the pitch.

Pattaya Panther Rugby Club conducts training and touch rugby sessions at Horseshoe Point Resort every Thursday evening at 7.30 p.m.Pattaya Panther Rugby Club conducts training and touch rugby sessions at Horseshoe Point Resort every Thursday evening at 7.30 p.m.

On another occasion my team experienced being on the receiving end of a Nelson (a score of 111).  Lord Nelson was rumored to have had only one eye, one arm and one leg, hence 111, though this historical tidbit is in fact incorrect.

After a short time, sensibly, the number 23 became my own.  Note that 22 players make a team with 15 on the pitch at any one time.  Hence when I played the team was a bit short of both players and supporters.  Ability is optional.

Having been to many clubhouses in the Middle East while playing in the Arabian Gulf League, I can attest to the that fact that the Pattaya Panthers have one of the finest I have ever visited.  The Horseshoe Point Resort provides one of the best backdrops to rugby anywhere: Spacious grounds, well lit, ample parking, a pool and cold beers.  The pool is said to have mythical rejuvenating powers, but after training that may not be a myth.

Like an old girlfriend, once one has an opportunity to return one does forget why the relationship ended in the first place.  Age offers an excuse I suppose – fewer grey cells.  For myself a return to rugby was nonetheless warranted, as an excuse for proper socialization was needed, and the extra kilos were beginning to take their toll.  Pattaya Panthers is your quintessential expat rugby club, though there are Thai members, Americans, Russians, Kiwis, French and even the odd Englishman making an appearance.  However, the body soon reminds one why separation was in order.

First day back a pulled muscle reminded me that rugby involves running around for 80 minutes but I did not want to be the originator of the bar room story “we once had a guy who came for one practice session and never returned,” preferring instead the opportunity to say “when I was your age young man…”, or “try to do this at my age”, so I stuck with the training.

You do not need Fifty Shades of Grey to know we all have a bit of sadism in us, or in this case masochism.  The fitness session was in retrospect mild but adequate for the range of age, skills and fitness on the pitch.  A thirty-minute touch session at the end allowed all the showmanship display one can conjure up.  For some (cough, cough) continuous movement is the aspiration.

For those of you who are aware or not – there is rugby training in Pattaya at the Horseshoe Point every Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.  It’s a great opportunity for rejuvenation and an excuse (as if one is ever needed) to socialize.  The Pattaya Panthers play several friendly games throughout the year with their main event being the Chris Kay Memorial Pattaya 10’s in early May.  A Japanese touring team is visiting the first Sunday in November with several other games over the next two months.

So remember, that run out opportunity is there.  There is a competitive circuit of sorts in Thailand (Chang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok 10’s) and nearby countries.  Age is not a factor and who knows, with enough in attendance even a women’s team can be fielded also!

For more details, contact Damian McCoy on 086 111 2816, Adrien Simon on 095 705 0822 or send an email to [email protected]