Ireland’s Shane Byrne among Legends on Close on Friday evening
It’s RugbyFest weekend - when the town has a chance to celebrate all forms of the game which started here.
Kicking off with some big names in the Legends charity match on The Close at Rugby School tomorrow (Friday, September 22) evening, there’s everything from veterans and touch rugby to rugby league and the wheelchair game over the next three days.
RugbyFest co-founder and former England international Spencer Brown is especially looking forward to the Legends game, which kicks off at 7.30pm. “We’ve got former professionals and internationals coming from across the country and flying in from as far away as South Africa,” he said.
“All the players are really honoured to be able to take part in a match on the original rugby pitch.
“Former Ireland international Shane Byrne, who will be familiar to fans of the Six Nations tournament, is captain of Legends Fighting Motor Neurone Disease.”
Co-founder Mark Dunkley is keen to stress how RugbyFest is a day out for all the family: “Thanks to help from many of the local schools, we’ve given hundreds of child tickets away for free,” he said.
“On Saturday there is all sorts going on for kids in the Fan Zone, plus we have the music festival.
“Sunday is a great day for youngsters who play rugby or are interested in getting involved because we’ve got our training sessions with the Legends.
“We’d encourage everyone to come along, enjoy a great day out and celebrate our town’s unique heritage.”
On Saturday the venue switches to Rugby School’s pitches at Springhill in Barby Road, with gates open at 10am.
Everyone of all ages and abilities is welcome to take part in the Sevens Touch World Record attempt (running all day), but must book at http://www.7stouch.co.uk/worldrecord. Cost is £10 per person in addition to entry fee, but includes a T-shirt.
There will be a host of games to watch, including: International Veterans Tens Tournament (runs all day); England Deaf Women v Rugby Lionesses (12noon); England Deaf Men v Leicestershire Police (2pm) with Rugby League from 5.15pm.
The Fan Zone with food, drink and entertainment runs all day, including funfair, face painting and climbing wall. The music festival by Enterlude featuring a number of acts showcasing Rugby’s local talent starts at 1.30pm.
There is also wheelchair rugby at 4pm in Rugby School sports centre, Horton Crescent.
On Sunday gates again open at 10am at Springhill with a range of events, including children’s ‘Train with a Legend’ sessions all morning, sevens mixed touch rugby tournament and Bath Rugby League v Northampton Demons at 1pm.
On both Saturday and Sunday former Ireland international Peter Bracken - The Scrum Doctor - is hosting Scrum Wars with live demos, competitions and prizes. Price to enter is £10 per team.
Mark added: “We would like to thank everyone who has given their support and helped spread the word about RugbyFest. In particular, we are grateful to our partner businesses and sponsors: Drapers, Sytner MINI in Coventry, Trinity Accountants, Peak Performance, LS Lifts, CC Ltd, Cadman Homes and Stonewall Security. Enterlude have done great work in arranging all the music.
“Most of all we would like to thank Rugby School for allowing us to use their venues to stage RugbyFest.”
Gates open at 6pm for Friday evening’s Legends and entry is £15.
Prices on Saturday and Sunday are £7.50 adults, £5 children. Pay on the door, or packages available on the website for those attending more than one day. Parking will be available, £5 per day.
RugbyFest profits will be supporting five charities.