Bangkok International Rugby Sevens: Hartlepool United arrive in Thai capital
Hartlepool's rugby team have landed in Thailand for the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens.
The squad have arrived at their base in the Thai capital for their debut entry into the prestigious championship.
Following an exhausting 18-hour journey overnight to the Thai capital, the players have relaxed by the pool at the Bangkok Lotus Hotel after swapping the nippy climes of the North-East for 30 degree temperatures in South-East Asia.
Coach Michael Ainslie said: "It was a long old way but we're here now and everyone is in high spirits.
"The first leg from Newcastle to Dubai I thought passed quickly but after a couple of hours stop over there, I think the lads just wanted to get here.
"A few of the lads knew each other before we set off, but a lot didn't and the long journey allowed the players to get to know each other.
"Today's about the squad getting acclimatised to the heat and humidity here and the surroundings and just chilling out.
"We're in a nice hotel and the lads have been straight in the pool.
"They will have a bite to eat and relax tonight and tomorrow we'll have a couple of training sessions."
Hartlepool's united team, the brainchild of town businessman and rugby figure, Alby Pattison, from Hart Innovations, will play in the huge event in Thailand’s capital on Saturday and Sunday.
The Hartlepool team is being led by West's Liam Bailey, who is joined by club colleagues, Liam Austwicke and Lee Maddison, BBOB's Peter Howe, Brad Green and Jack McCallum from Horden & Peterlee, Rovers duo Alex Rochester and Adam Smith and Seaton Carew’s Cameron Lithgo.
Hartlepool have made a link up with Hong Kong Football Club and Kiwi duo, Alex Bayliss and Bernard Reeves, will play as guests, the forwards arriving in the Thai capital tomorrow.
The United side, sponsored by Hart Innovations, Seymour Civil Engineering and Utility Alliance, play in Group A of the international section.