Rugby tournaments or as some say rugby festivals are so much fun because they include all abilities and more importantly the famous or infamous social aspects which are the backbone of the rugby spirit and transcends all other sports activities. Every rugby tournament has different sectors to allow all types of rugby enthusiasts to participate. Modern approaches see 15s pro and amateur, 10s and 7s plus veterans, touch rugby, beach rugby with teams of 5 players then specialised ones for mixed teams of male and female, mixed abilities, LGBT teams, walking rugby and even rugby tournaments for the hearing impaired and wheelchair rugby. All of these formulas have one thing in common they all emphasis the Rugby Spirit based on passion, discipline and honour plus, of course, the indefatigable off field social spirit which brings everyone together over a glass of amber nectar or simply put, beer. Gareth Chilcott, Bath & England player eloquently nailed the rugby spirit with his quote, ‘I thought I would have a quiet pint… and about 17 noisy ones.’ Rugby appeals to and encourages the very young to retired pensioners to get out and play.
Many off season tournaments provide off pitch entertainment of which rugby has plenty, drinking games and skill games or skill & drinking games simultaneously. The three essentials at a rugby weekend are beer bars, food tent and massage tent the latter is usually for a charitable cause and obviously a few rugby matches thrown in for good measure otherwise it would just be called a BBQ ‘n Beer event. One such summer tournament is the Krakow Rugby Festival in Poland that even challenges its participants with their ‘Do you have the ovals to compete’, as not only do you play rugby but have free unlimited beer and cider for the entire weekend, unsurprisingly, many do have the ovals, now that is rugby and fun for you! Visiting teams also enjoy live music concerts, pub crawls, pitch-side contests and entertainment which is taken care of by a Krakow stag do organiser- PartyKrakow.
Rugby tournaments usually have a last night Gala Dinner in which all the participating teams wear the club colours and sing the club song but one of the traditions is also enacted and that is the first time tour induction ceremony. Some of them are quite bizarre and downright cringeworthy cruel but not as daring as the Vanuatu Bungee Jump, the boy to man initiation by jumping off a 30m tower with only a vine tied to the boy/man’s ankle to stop him from being head crushed, however, rugby initiation rituals can bring on a similar fearful effect on the 1st time tour individual and audience. Ask any rugby enthusiast and they will say that’s part of the fun!
The majority of tournaments are staged mostly in the off season months and this gives rise to many rugby playing friends meeting up from different places to enjoy a few tournaments of summer rugby. Although the rugby is an essential part the social aspects that make it all a glorious fun weekend in whatever form, style or type you play on and off the pitch. A typical competitive but social tournament will start with an induction or party night where all the teams some in fancy dress get to meet each other with live music, DJ and plenty of drinks. On match days there will be bars and food services available with well-known drinking games like the Stretcher Run involving beer, vodka and pickled vegetables also some tournaments have a huge tarpaulin under the posts to encourage players to score a sliding try on it. The beach rugby tournaments have the wonderful advantage of the sea to cool off in, sunbathe, bathe and play. In the evenings the after freshening up the organisers provide more entertainment with pub crawls and club entry all with dancing, karaoke and live music. It truly is a weekend of fun and don’t forget the rugby playing part.
There are more and more rugby tournaments appearing every year especially in Eastern Europe with countries that you never thought played rugby, so if you are looking for a different and unusual tour run a search for them in places like Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Lithuania plus it is not so expensive as the more well-known rugby playing countries. Rugby is fun wherever you play it and extra fun with the social activities connected with all rugby enthusiasts when there is a good beer on tap.