A Welcome Return to Weymouth for Royal Navy Beach Rugby

Beach Festival winners, 30Cdo with the cup
Beach Rugby finalists, HMS Raleigh and 30Cdo
Strong showing from the boys from Scotland
RNRU Referees ensuring strict adherence to the rules

Wimbledon will be over soon; the Euros have nearly finished and the cricket is sporadic. So rugby makes a welcome return to the calendar at Weymouth Beach on the 20th July. As part of the RNRU RWC 15 Legacy Programme, the aim is to grow the player and wider rugby community base by attracting new people to this great sport. 

Following on from the last two successful events which saw significant growth in numbers of participants and spectators, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have extended a cordial invitation to the Royal Navy Rugby Union to host the festival again.

The RNRU is delighted to report that QinetiQ has also agreed to sponsor the event for another year which will see teams representing Ships, Commando Regiments and Establishments from across the UK taking part. It is an excellent opportunity to visit a picturesque coastal town and play a brand of rugby which is fast and free but not completely devoid of the occasional big hit.

The rugby rule book will be simplified and the RNRU referees will officiate over the game with the intention of promoting expansive, open rugby but with the overall objective of making the contests fun.

The event brings the Royal Navy back into the public eye following successful ‘Armed Forces Day’ events across the Nation and if the numbers of spectators from last year are anything to go by (and if the weather stays fair), the tourists and locals will fill the stands and show their raucous support for the teams, perhaps favouring the most flamboyant play or the most colourful kit!

The teams will be organised into pools before a knock out stage which will eventually determine the winner. A Plate Final will also take place offering more to play for.

Last year’s Plate Final saw Commando Logistics Regiment (CLR) take on Commando Training Centre Royal Marines with CLR winning 5 tries to 1. The Cup Final saw further Royal Marine success when in the last play of the game 30 Commando crossed for a 5 tries to 4 victory over HMS Raleigh.

RNRU Vice President RAdm Keith Beckett said of the day: “I was privileged to spend a sunny afternoon on Weymouth beach to watch some thrilling rugby played with real commitment and an overwhelming sense of fun.  It was particularly good to see so many participants who had not played rugby before really enjoying the competition and the fabulous competitive atmosphere.  My congratulations again to last year’s winners, 30 Commando.  I would encourage all to take the opportunity this competition offers and to commit to the event this year.  Weymouth beach in the Summer is a tremendous venue and I look forward to seeing whether the defending champions can retain the title or whether they will be toppled by another team.”

In addition, this year will also include a fun Women’s Tag Rugby event. Much like the men’s game, teams will be made up of five players per team over the same alloted time period. If you haven’t got the numbers for a whole team still come to Weymouth as a ‘pitch up and play’ scheme will be in place.

Chris Roberts, Director of Community Rugby, and Lynne Martin, Women’s ADoR, are keen on maximum participation. Chris Roberts said, “This is a perfect opportunity to include women who have thought of getting involved in a fun, safe environment. We have taken the contact element out of the game to enable this and to see what latent skill is out there – I look forward to being pleasantly surprised. I encourage as many ladies as possible to make the trip to Weymouth for what promises to be an excellent day.”

For further details regarding the day or how to enter a team please contact the RNRU Rugby Development Officer, Ady Cherrington or telephone 07764 960395.

Article By James Campbell-Baldwin
Images by Alligin Photography /©James Campbell-Baldwin