Rugby in an ocean paradise
RW’s Alex shaw goes on an island adventure as he reports from the World Club 10s in mauritius
Anked At 86th in the world – nestling between niue Islands and the bahamas – it’s understandable if rugby isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mauritius.
the small island in the Indian Ocean did, however, host the World Club 10s this summer and put on a fabulous show for locals, tourists and players alike. It was the second edition of the tournament following its inaugural event in singapore in 2014, after which it took a sabbatical due to the all-encompassing 2015 World Cup.
the mantra of ‘rugby in paradise’ was not just some throwaway promotional slogan from the organisers of the competition, it permeated every level of the event. From luxurious hotels with expansive vistas of white beaches to the bustling capital city of port Louis, mauritius delivered a totally unique event, blending local culture with all the thrills and spills you would expect of a weekend at a sevens tournament.
saracens and toulon were two of the eight pro teams taking part but it was left to the Aussies to fight for the title, Western Force pipping the brumbies 7-0 in the final with michael ruru as player of the tournament.
the athletes clearly enjoyed themselves, brumbies prop ruan smith saying: “It’s (tens rugby) great for developing skills and breakdown work, with teams not committing more than one or two players. tight-five players don’t often get the opportunity to do likewise in sevens.”
Jon phelps, founder of Carinat sports marketing, who organised the tournament, confirmed that it will be played in mauritius for the next three years and that they hope to grow the event over that period.
“this year was about getting the building blocks – get the pro teams to come, enjoy it and see the value in it for their own brands as well.”
phelps now aims to increase the number of satellite tournaments alongside the pro tournament, with men’s, women’s and touch competitions for sides from all over the world set to join the 2017 event.
the rugby took place at Anjalay stadium, an 18,000-capacity venue
“WE WANT THE INdIAN OCEAN TO HAvE A
Palms ready Visiting sides enjoy beach training
Tasting victory Western Force won an all-Aussie final