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Close encounter of the rugby kind – Phuket Sports

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Close encounter of the rugby kind – Phuket Sports | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: In a nail-bitingly close encounter, the Wallabies triumphed in the second Melbourne Test. 16-15. A solitary point between the two teams. A series now level at 1-1. Over two games, a total score of 38- 37. Some match-up!

Before the game, Lions captain Sam Warburton had referred to “the biggest game of my life.” After the final whistle, Wallabies captain, James Horwill was in tears. The tension throughout a ferociously contested match reached a climax as the Lions, defending a six point lead for much of the second half, finally conceded an Ashley-Cooper try from close in, courtesy of a flat pass from James O’Connor. Leali’ilanu’s nerveless conversion from wide out gave the home team a one point lead with four minutes to go.

But the Lions, refusing to accept yet another last minute defeat (Wales and England have memories of these against the Wallabies), stormed up-field and won a penalty on half-way. In an uncanny repetition of the first Test scenario, Leigh Halfpenny, who had already kicked all fifteen of the Lions’ points, stepped up to win the series. It was not to be. Under enormous pressure, he uncharacteristically left his effort short. Shades of Kurtley Beale in the first Test. As Sam Warburton opined : “We’re going through what Australia went through last week.”

Poetic justice maybe, though Lions supporters will hardly endorse that view. Coach Warren Gatland was more candid saying: “We didn’t look after the ball enough … they dominated the turnover in the second half … that put us under pressure.”

Pre-match hype had focused, rather irrelevantly, on James Horwill’s initial reprieve from a stamping citing, and on George North ‘s apology for gesturing at Will Genia as he scored. But the more important business had concerned team selection. The Lions made five changes – some enforced – selecting brothers Ben and Tom Youngs (the first sibling double act since the Hastings brothers in 1989), Dan Lydiate at flanker, Mako Vunipola at prop, Geoff Parling at lock and Tommy Bowe on the wing. For their part, Australia installed Beale at full-back and brought in winger Joe Tomane.

In a match that turned on hair-breadths, these selections may well have been decisive. Dan Lydiate had a fine match, constantly involved in the maelstrom of rucks and mauls, but Vinopola, who performed creditably in the loose, was a liability in the scrum where his technique was exposed.

As for the backs, they had few opportunities in a match where the ball was rarely spread wide, as both sides sought to eliminate the handling errors of the first Test. The result was an attritional battle, largely played out between two packs who both asked and gave no quarter.

Attention now shifts to the third and decisive game at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium this Saturday. A sell-out is in prospect. There may well be further changes to the teams. Warburton is unlikely to recover from a hamstring injury which saw him off the field for the decisive final minutes, and Corbisiero will probably return to shore up the front row. Both locks and centers will come under scrutiny. For the Wallabies, captain Horwill may yet be censured.

The momentum is with Australia, as is the hand of history. But whatever happens, the final Test will assuredly be a close encounter of the third kind, a battle of epic proportions. There is still everything to play for. As Warburton declared after the match: “We’re definitely capable of taking the Test series, we’ve shown that for two games. It’s going to be won by a whisker next week and I hope it’s us.”

Australia
: Beale, Folau, Ashley-Cooper, Leali’ifano, Tomane, O’Connor, Genia, Robinson, Moore, Alexander, Horwill, Douglas, Mowen, Hooper, Palu.

Replacements
: Slipper (for Robinson 60), Kepu (for Alexander 58) Simmonds (for Douglas 53), Gill (for Palu 60), Horne (for Ashley-Cooper 79),

Lions
: Halfpenny, Bowe, O’Driscoll, Davies, North, Sexton, B. Youngs, Vunipola, T.Youngs, A.Jones, A.W.Jones, Parling, Lydiate, Warburton, Heaslip.

Replacements:
Hibbard (for T. Youngs 68), Cole (for A. Jones 58), Croft (forWarburton 66), O’Brien (for Heaslip 62), Murray (for B. Youngs 53)

Phuket’s rugby fans are eargerly anticipating today’s encounter if Facebook comments are anything to judge, with the final Test between Australia and the Lions kicking off at 5:05pm local time.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s sports pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter for the latest local, national and international sporting news.

— Patrick Campbell

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Thailand

Phuket eases restrictions, bars back to late-night hours

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Phuket eases restrictions, bars back to late-night hours | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Culture Trip

Things are getting back to normal in Phuket. The provincial government eased disease control restrictions, allowing restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to go back to their normal operating hours – no more midnight closure order – and lifting the late-night alcohol ban.

While bars can now stay open late and serve alcohol after midnight, dancing is prohibited and venues cannot serve alcohol in containers that will be shared among groups of people.

The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee agreed to ease the restrictions yesterday and an order allowing late-night hours and alcohol sales was posted today by the Phuket’s Public Relations Department.

“As the Covid-19 situation in Phuket has improved that there are no more Covid-19 infections found, the committee agreed to cancel the late-night alcohol ban in order to revive the economy of Phuket.”

All businesses related to gathering activities are warned to follow the Covid-19 preventive measures.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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