The Rugby World Cup arrived in England early – well, almost – when a feast of beach rugby fun was held on West Wittering beach.
England host the Rugby World Cup later this year and as a celebration the RFU have created the Festival of Rugby. As part of this, Chichester RFC hosted the first of its festival events on Saturday.
This year teams from across East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Middlesex, Berkshire, Wiltshire attended the festivalat West Wittering.
The theme was the World Cup and the teams were assigned a country playing in or who tried to qualify for this year’s event, and asked to use their imagination and dress in something that represents that country.
Teams did not disappoint – with the USA represented as Budweiser bottles, Kenya in full tribal dress, the All Blacks all in black, while France were represented by a team of chefs, Japan as Samurai warriors.
Gary Howarth, the chairman of the Sussex RFU, attended and presented the trophy to the winners.
With fantastic weather and the beach crowded with spectators and families, a very entertaining event ensued.
The highlight for all rugby fans was that Scotland beat the All Blacks in the quarter-final; let’s hope this occurs in the real World Cup.
The event allows for mixed teams, young and old, to play against each other with brothers playing for opposing teams; however many of the adult teams came unstuck when playing some of the juniors.
The festival is structured so the 32 teams play in eight pools with the top two at the end of the pool progressing on to the cup competition and the bottom two contesting the plate trophy.
Conditions on the day were ideal with plenty of sun lotion and water needed.
As with any festival the pool stages were fearlessly contested with the following teams going on to contest the cup competition: Bognor RFC 1st - Uruguay; Worthing RFC 1st - South Africa; Midhurst U15s - New Zealand; Chichester U16 1st XV - Canada; Worthing RFC 2nd - Japan; Newbury U15 RFC 4th - Portugal; Midhurst RFC (Fat Boys) - Wales; Worthing RFC 3rd – Namibia; Devizes Ladies 1st - Brazil; Oli Bonar - Korea; Devizes Ladies 2nd - Kenya; Newbury U15 RFC 3rd - Hong Kong; Midhurst RFC - Australia; Bognor RFC 2nd - Scotland;
Crows – Tonga; Bognor RFC 4th - France.
The following contesting the plate: CRFC U14/15 - Fiji; Mucky Ducks - USA; Bognor RFC 3rd - Georgia; Pulborough U13 Girls 1st - Romania; Newbury U15 RFC 2nd - Russia; Pulborough U13 Girls 2nd - Holland; Chichester U16 2nd XV- Chile; Tom Belcher – Belgium;
Alexander Avengers - Spain; Worthing Girls 2nd - Germany; Pulborough U18 Girls - Poland; PulboroughU15 Girls 3rd - Italy; Pulborough U15 Girls 1st - England; Newbury U15 RFC 1st - Samoa; Worthing Girls 1st - Argentina; PulboroughU15 Girls 2nd - Ireland.
Theplate competition was won by Newbury RFC (aka Russia) who beat Bognor RFC (Georgia). The cup competition was won by Worthing RFC (Namibia), who beat Worthing RFC 1st (South Africa).
Chichester RFC thanked all the volunteers and referees who gave up their time freely to make the event possible and the West Wittering estate for allowing the event to take place.
A repeat is planned next year.
Other events Chichester RFC are hosting as part of the Festival of Rugby are:
Sunday, September 6 - World’ longest pass, where Chichester RFC are looking to pass a rugby ball from the rugby club down Oaklands Park around the City Walls and back up to the club to score a try. Anyone is welcome to come along and participate – see advert for further details.
Friday, September 25 – At Oaklands Park, Chichester are hosting a Primary School Word Cup event for local schoolchildren to come along and experience rugby in a tag competition. Jess Breach, a local girl who has played for the England under-18 women’s rugby sevens team, will be joining the teams and awarding the prizes.
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