For the Players
For the game

London Beach Rugby

August 11th, 2013

Covent Garden is famous for its colourful market stalls, trendy bistros and quirky artists, but for two days in August that all changed when beach rugby came to town. The inaugural Doom Bar London Beach Rugby Tournament saw 32 teams competing in a 5-a-side tournament on an inflatable pitch and 120 tonnes of imported sand.

The event raised not only the profile of rugby in a unique and unusual way, but also helped to raise funds for Restart to support injured players. Rugby stars including Alex Goode, Jeff Williams and Charlie Matthews were there to lend their support and enjoy the fast-paced action.

Based on the principles of touch rugby, the aim of the game was to ground the ball against the opposition’s wall. A tackle was a two-handed touch, with three touches resulting in a turnover ball. The soft sand landing and inflatable sides ensured plenty of high-flying swan dives to delight the enthusiastic crowds that surrounded the pitch on both days.

Day one saw players swap the boardroom for the pitch as a range of City firms battled it out for the Corporate Cup. Day two was for Clubs, with the visiting French side, Stash France, claiming ultimate victory. France also provided the inspiration for the event after Tournament organisers – brothers Charles and Myles Waud – took part in a beach rugby competition in the south of France and decided to bring the concept to the heart of London.

“Even though beach rugby is five-a-side with different rules, it’s still rugby,” explained Myles Waud. “We wanted to do our bit to build the profile of the game in the lead up to the World Cup in 2015 and the Olympics in 2016. Covent Garden has huge visitor numbers and it was great to see people’s enthusiasm for the event. Hopefully it will inspire people to find out more about rugby and get involved.

“Covent Garden was also a great venue to promote our chosen charity, Restart. People don’t often think about how injury can affect players and we wanted to give Restart a platform to promote the great work they do supporting injured players.”

The giant sand pitch was laid overnight and the clean-up operation was equally impressive – by 9pm on the final day there wasn’t a grain of sand to be seen. The Waud brothers hope to repeat the event next year and also have their sights set on Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff as additional city venues.