Last year we had the privilége of being visited by Alan Pearey, one of the Rugby World Mag editors, with our tournament ending being of the september edition highlights.
After, we challenged Alan to share some thoughts with us.
Q: Thanks for agreeing to share some thoughts about the beach rugby phenomenon, Alan. Your visit was a great pleasure for us. Were you aware of what beach rugby is about before visiting Figueira?
A: To be honest, I knew little about beach rugby because I had never seen it in its real form. There’s a ‘beach rugby’ event in London but it has different rules and is nothing like the spectacle of Figueira.
Q: What were your expectations before arriving, and how were they met after experiencing the two days of beach rugby action in Figueira?
A: I wasn’t sure what to expect but the impact of the event took me by surprise. I knew a lot of teams would be participating but it was magical to see them in the flesh, to see all these players, men and women, from different countries coming together for a rugby tournament. And then celebrating together afterwards in the city’s bars in time-honoured tradition!
What makes it more special as well is that many of the players are from countries where rugby has a low profile. I loved the fact that people’s passion for rugby was just as great as it is in established rugby strongholds like the UK, France or New Zealand. It was a brilliant weekend.
Q: What do you regard as the main characteristic of the event?
A: The energy of Figueria is remarkable. Everything happens so fast! The games are really quick and action-packed, and the moment one ends, it seems that the next one starts. You need to be fit to play beach rugby successfully.
I also think of the heat. You must remember that as an Englishman I seldom spend so much time in blazing sunshine!
Q: Being someone with such a wider understanding of the sport, what role can beach rugby play in the global rugby scene?
A: It’s easy to see the impact already of beach rugby – and also its greater potential. One of the most striking sights was the youngsters playing rugby on adjacent pitches. In a country where rugby is a minority sport, it’s fantastic to see the game get exposure in a busy, public area like Figueira beach.
In warm countries with reliable weather, such as those in southern Europe, beach rugby can be a powerful vehicle to promote the game as a whole.
Hopefully some people who are introduced to rugby via beach rugby will go on to play sevens or 15s. But if they just play beach rugby, that is fine too – it’s about giving people as many ways to enjoy rugby as possible.
So beach rugby has an important role to play, and I can only see it growing.
Q: If you were challenged to sum up beach rugby in three words, they would be….
A: Fast, fun and fabulous!