Old rugby, passion and energy of a sport that knows no age

We don't ask for much, a few pints of beer and a plate full of food... we play for the sake of sport.

This phrase comes from former rugby player Mark Ring, and is often repeated when someone tries to explain the essence of rugby: a discipline as hard as it is emblematic of passion and loyalty. Features that other sports seem to have lost, caught between an extreme vision of professionalism and the exasperated search for the result.

Rugby is played for the love of sport and its values, without forgetting to respect rules and opponents, for the belief that everything that happens within the field ends when the referee's blows the whistle and you meet for the third half.


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The scrum divides, the scrum unites
Between a pint of beer and a tasty dish, the emblematic last act of the game stitches up what a scrum and a tackle have torn, reconciling the teams that fought on the field and the opposing factions of fans that met in the stands.

In Europe, with the exceptions of the United Kingdom and Ireland, we have only recently really discovered this sport and, finally, thanks to greater television coverage and the spread of the Internet, we too have found ourselves at the edge of a green pocket of grass where two handfuls of brawny players compete for an oval ball.

To make a comparison, just try to think about the audience events like the Rugby World Cup or the 6 Nations Tournaments had but a few years ago in non-British countries, compared to the roaring crowds we now see nowadays.

In rugby, teamwork is everything

With time, we have become familiar with terms such as goal, scrum or pylons, and after having understood the basics of the game we have started to love it, with many of us even trying it!

School-age children, teenagers uninterested in football, but also adults and seniors have in fact decided to devote themselves to rugby, fascinated by its trademark sportsmanship.

The right discipline to keep fit and be in good company

Perhaps thanks to this defining feature, an international movement has recently developed around rugby, leading to the creation of an amateur category dedicated to those who want to practice this discipline "as adults", even those who have never tried it before.

If you are tired of boring activities and have the desire to get back in the game with a team sport that keeps you in shape, then old rugby is the right sport for you.

The special division Old (or Veteran), dedicated to athletes over 35, has its own rules - designed to make the game suitable for those who perhaps don’t have youth on their side - and refers to an association recognized globally: the European Golden Oldies Rugby. Its motto "Fun, Friendship, Fraternity and Family!" is the emblem of the accessibility of old rugby.

A few revised rules to make rugby suitable for all ages

This category, commenced for fun in the late 1970s during a Rugby Festival in Auckland, sprawled over time, generating more and more teams by the month, up to the point of creating some special rules for these new “old” players.

Scrolling through the rules of old rugby, one can see that its rules are almost equal to those of regular rugby (also known as The Laws), safe for a few exceptions. The ban on pushing during the scrum and the provisions relating to the lineout, which must involve eight players and does not allow the lifting or support (lift) of players in the lineout, are particularly striking.

To Tackle or not to tackle?
Furthermore, the original rules for the tackle have been changed, and is now linked to the colour of the shorts worn by the players. Until the age of 60, they wear either white shorts or those with the colour of the club, and there are less restrictive limits on tackle. From 60 to 64, the shorts’ colour is red and the player cannot be tackled, but can only be stopped by hugging. From 65 to 70, gold shorts, tackling or hugging is not allowed, but the player can be stopped by placing himself in front of him with open arms.


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All you need is your passion for the game and the desire to get muddy by running from goal to goal.

Finally, players over 70 years wear purple shorts and nobody can tackle, hug or stop them in any way. In short, old rugby is the right discipline for those who want to keep fit by practicing a team sport and, albeit in an amateur way, to compete in tournaments and championships throughout Europe.

The 2019 European Old Rugby Championship

This year there will be many opportunities for interested people to get to know more about this sport. First, form 13 to 16 June, the 15th European Golden Oldies Rugby Festival will take place in Split, where representatives from every major old rugby team will participate. Split, with its 1700 years of history, is actually a very fitting choice: an old city made timeless by sports and full of activities for every age.

Following the Festival, from 5 to 8 September 2019, in Belluno, Italy, the European Championship of old rugby will take place, an event that will gather teams from all over the continent for four days of oval balls and mountains, without forgetting the after match food and wine the city and its countryside will offer. A beautiful manifesto for a movement that in the last eight years has grown a lot even among the female audience.


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If you don't get dirty, what fun is there?
If you are tired of boring or solitary activities and you have the desire to get back in the game with a team sport that keeps you in shape by having fun and meeting other people, old rugby is the right activity. All you need is your passion for the game and the desire to get muddy by running from goal to goal.

Don't worry if you get pushed or if someone will hug you while you fly towards the goal: by the end of the match, every contrast with your opposing team is forgotten next to a good beer.

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