Magalluf and Majorca’s rugby teams are getting ready for the eleventh Majorca Beach Rugby tournament which is going to take place on 5-6 May.
Organiser and former England and Leicester Tigers rugby star, Steve Redfern, has been involved with helping to develop rugby on the island for well over a decade. He said last week that he is really pleased how the game has come on, that more and more people - of both sexes - are playing the game and that he has some exciting training plans for the future.
In the meantime, he and his team are busy getting ready for the annual beach rugby tournament. one of the largest and most popular in Europe. This year there are over 58 teams coming from the British Isles, Latvia, Holland, Germany, Spain (local and the mainland), Belgium and France.
"The trouble this year is that the dates coincide with many of the cup finals in the European leagues, so some teams are unable to come. But many teams are bringing groups of supporters, so the best part of 6,000 people will be coming to Magalluf and Majorca for the weekend or perhaps a few days longer. This gives the resort’s summer season the perfect kick-off. Calvia council, which has been extremely helpful and cooperative right from the beginning, is well aware of the benefits this tournament brings to the area.
"All of the 28 referees who are coming are either professionals or former pros, and the pitches will be in the same place as last year. The rugby starts at 12.30pm on the Saturday and will conclude at around 6pm. On the Sunday, matches kick off at 1pm and the finals will be played from around 4pm onwards.
"It’s always a great atmosphere, whatever the weather. But if the sun is shining, then we always attract a host of local residents and even tourists who are curious to see what’s going on and soon get into the fun of things."
Away from the tournament, Steve plays a key role in helping expand rugby in Majorca, and the game has really taken off at all levels - senior, junior and in some local schools. "What the plan now is to bring a teach of coaches over from Leicester Tigers to hold summer camps. I’ve got the clearance and cooperation from the club, one of the best in the world, now we just need the sponsors.
"The idea is to hold regular summer camps here for both young players from the British Isles and up-and-coming players here. The trouble in Majorca is that the clubs are quite often playing against each other - the same teams over and over again. What we want to do is raise the bar, introduce the local players to foreign players who more often than not play at a higher standard. This will not only bring the locals and foreign players together, which is always a good experience, but also help the players in Majorca to up their game and play against teams they would not otherwise have the chance to compete against.
"We have all the facilities here, it’s just a short flight and the weather is ideal during the summer. Plus, the local authorities are on board. Sports tourism in Majorca is taking off and is going to very much be the future of the island’s industry. There is a a great appetite for sport in Majorca and that will rub off on the lads from the UK."
Steve, who has played both rugby union and league at the very top level, has a great of experience in coaching clubs overseas. He has been a league winner in Sweden and trained in Germany, so he has the know-how in exporting rugby overseas and making it work. But if you are not a rugby player, don’t worry because there is plenty of enjoyment and excitement to be had at the beach tournament.
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