Covent Garden is synonymous for its market, entertainers and being the home of the Royal Opera House, it is not normally known for its rugby. However for 2 days last week that all changed as the inaugural London Beach Rugby Tournament came to town. Across the 2 days 32 teams competed for the honour of being crowned London Beach Rugby Champions, the tournament was held in aid of the rugby charity Restart. Restart and the work that it does to help build players’ lives after career ending injuries is becoming increasingly important as intensity of the game builds and any awareness and support is extremely welcome.
The Beach Rugby in Action
Friday was the Corporate Day, the day where the City Slickers replaced their suits for rugby kit and enjoyed the chance to throw themselves about, in the sand as opposed to across the trading floor, and have a legtimiate day off, all in the name of charity. On Saturday it was the turn of the invitational club teams to show their skills, needless to say Saturday’s quality of rugby, and kits, did slightly eclipse their corporate counterparts!
The rules of the Beach Rugby were simple, 5 players, 3 touches = turnover ball, lots of sand and inflatable sides to ensure the Ashton splashes were thrown about left right and centre.

Alex Goode enjoys a break at the Doom Bar

Arriving on Saturday afternoon it was clear that the beach vibes were being embraced, there were flip flops galore and shirtless rugby men everywhere, ladies it really was full of visual treats! On the pitch the teams were fiercely competitive with some intense games and quality beach rugby being played. The tournament attracted its fair share of household names including Alex Goode, Charlie Walker and Charlie Matthews all keen to support Restart and enjoy some of the sunshine and rugby. The Doom Bar was in full flow all day supplying the hundreds of spectators and players with ale samples all day! Beach Rugby is thirsty work and the nature of the inflatable sides of the pitch meant that there were Ashton’esque dives left, right and centre as well as many players ending ‘overboard’ much to the hilarity of their teammates and all of the spectators.

She has no idea what is coming!!
It was the invitational side Stash France who finished the day on top, playing in the final against Bruichladdich Bandits in a fast paced encounter… the match, preceded by the national anthems, was a fantastic way to top an epic two days of Beach Rugby. Covent Garden was restored to its usual state by 9pm on Saturday evening, with not a trace of sand in sight. As I said before Restart is a fantastic charity, one that can never be given enough support, therefore anything that helps to raise its profile and finances is fantastic. Such was the success of this tournament I know that plans are in place to take the Beach on the road and certainly to be back in Covent Garden next year.
View here to see more Restart events: Personally I am quite excited by the Rugby World Cup 10th Anniversary Dinner  and the England vs. Australia Legends Game at the Stoop.
Pitch Invasion!
The Delightful Doom Bar!