Rugby comes to Madeira in 2008

Source Diário de Notícias 27/10/2007

For those who enjoyed the just completed Rugby World Cup, there are more rugby treats in store for those lucky enough to live on the island, as the Championship of the Clubs of Europe will be held here next year, bringing around 1500 players.

Between the 19th and 22nd of June, the IXth European Golden Oldies Rugby (râguebi) Festival comes to Madeira, bringing 40 teams, attracted by the venue, facilities, and the costs of staging the contest here. In Portuguese sporting and hosting terms, this is a big and important event.

The European championship for veterans (players must be over 35 years old), isn’t played for any ranking or crowning glory, but at the end there is an important trophy for ‘fair play’.

The games are to be held at five sporting grounds, should include several Portuguese teams, and will be integrated into the celebrations for 500 years of Funchal. 

Great achievement to have attracted this, but if the Rugby World Cup was anything to go by, I can’t see huge local interest, and how 40 teams of over 35 year olds can finish a competition in 4 days or less is beyond me. As an active rugby follower for some years, I suspect this is a bit of a jolly with a few beers thrown in … fair play!

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