Sun, Sea, Sand and Rugby - RNRU Beach Festival of Rugby

2014 tournament winners HMS Sultan

The Rugby World Cup (RWC) is coming to England next year and the Royal Navy Rugby Union (RNRU), under the banner of the ‘RWC Legacy Programme’, is investing in the future of the game within the Service in the build up to this prestigious event.  The RWC Legacy Programme aims to grow the player and wider rugby community base by attracting new people to the sport.  There are currently 5 main lines of activity: Basing, Festival, Unity, Volunteer and Community.  The first activity to ‘kick-off’ was the RNRU Festival of Rugby.

Weymouth beach hosted the inaugural RNRU Beach Festival of Rugby on Wednesday 10 September.  Storming the beach on a hot, sunny day were teams representing 42 Cdo, HMNB Clyde, HMS Heron, HMNB Portsmouth, HMS Sultan, and two teams each from HMS Seahawk and HMS Triumph.  With each game lasting 8 minutes, it was a five-a-side full contact tournament with rolling subs; and those subs were very much needed given the sheer pace and physicality of every match, not to mention the heat!  Played on two beach pitches, and watched by an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd of locals and holiday makers, the teams demonstrated considerable skill, stamina and enthusiasm, which in turn created some very competitive matches.  The results of the pool stages determined the schedule for the knock out stage and following a welcome break to catch their breath, refuel and assume the position to grab a few ‘rays’ (or recover as they stated!!), the teams participated in the ‘Cup’ and ‘Plate’ Competitions, ensuring all teams achieved a full day’s rugby. 

The 42 Cdo team showed their amphibious prowess by overcoming HMS Triumph ‘Rockets’ (6-2) in the Plate Final.  But the congratulations go to the Festival Champions, HMS Sultan, who defeated HMS Seahawk A (3-2) in a close run final.

The Festival was a huge success and the plans for the Beach Festival in July 2015 are already well in hand – watch out for details very soon and start preparing your team now.  The rugby played on Weymouth beach was fun, fast-paced and exciting, creating an extremely popular spectacle with players and spectators alike.  And to cap it all, the sun shone all day. 

What more could you ask for other than sun, sea, sand and rugby?