In June 2006 whilst out jogging with friends, I noticed the beauty of Swansea Bay and the potential it had to host many a sports tournament with its stadium style seating (with its sea defences), and it was at this point that I decided I would arrange the first actual beach rugby tournament in Swansea Bay.
My first task was to check the tide times of Swansea Bay before setting the tournament date. The most suitable date was 6 weeks away so it was all systems go with arranging permission with the local Council, Insurances, trophies and advertising for teams to take part.
Finally the day arrived, unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side as only 6 teams turned up. But, fun was had by all and rain in Swansea is something we are used to!
Beach Rugby is played as touch rugby, but the matches can be very physical. A few touch rugby teams that have previously taken part haven’t reached the pool stages due to the physicality of the competition.
From 6 teams in 2006, over the years the tournament has grown from strength to strength with this year 54 teams taking part and teams entering from all over the UK. The tournament has attracted International players, past and present, Richard Hibbard, Shane Williams, Paul James, Ian Gough, Garin Jenkins and Arwel Thomas for Wales, Ireland’s Tommy Bowe, All Black’s Jerry Collins and Marty Hollah to name a few.
The tournament has become so popular that the teams taking part plan their pre season around the day and use it as a team bonding weekend. It is a fun day and suitable for all the family, whatever the weather. Apart from the very first tournament when the weather wasn’t on our side, every year we have been very lucky with the weather and hopefully will continue on each tournament day.
I am very proud with the development of Beach Rugby Wales over the last few years years and without the support of the teams, sponsors and supporters, the tournament wouldn’t be as successful as it is today. The day is a ‘Festival of Rugby’.
I look forward to seeing you all at Beach Rugby Wales 2017 and to celebrate our 12th anniversary (22 July).
Sea you on the sand,
Ash & Gar