The Martin Currie Festival of Rugby took place on Murrayfield’s back pitches throughout the weekend of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s with more than 1,100 men, women and children taking part. The matches were all in keeping with the sevens action on the international pitch and celebrated the fun, sportsmanship and camaraderie so often associated with rugby.The Martin Currie Festival of Rugby took place on Murrayfield’s back pitches throughout the weekend of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s with more than 1,100 men, women and children taking part.
The matches were all in keeping with the sevens action on the international pitch and celebrated the fun, sportsmanship and camaraderie so often associated with rugby.
It wasn’t just all-action on the pitches – on both days there were fun zones too with inflatable games and bouncy castles and a stand-out extra special attraction – the Webb Ellis Cup (the Rugby World Cup trophy) was on display. Famous faces were just as fascinated with the trophy as everyone else as Olympic gold medallist Rhona Martin MBE was spotted with her family having their picture taken with the ornate golden cup and another Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave, was also seen enjoying the action at Murrayfield.
Saturday was all about enjoyment and participation and focussed on the youth game with Tag, New Image and seven-a-side rugby being played along with come-and-try skills sessions for anyone wanting to give it a go.
To end their day in style, all the children taking part – almost one thousand of them – were invited on the track alongside the international pitch in the main bowl of the stadium for the ‘best seats in the house’ to watch Scotland beat South Africa in the final match of the day which saw the Scotland team post their first ever win over one of the world’s top four teams.
In the Tag tournament, Tobermory High School were rewarded for their 6am departure from Mull with a first ever double victory, winning both the competition (North Berwick were runners-up) and the fair play award for sportsmanship. In the New Image festival, Law Primary School from North Berwick came out on top with Linlithgow Primary and Eastern Primary from Broughty Ferry, Dundee as runners-up.
Gala won the girls’ under 15 tournament with a 19-0 victory over Monklands, while Murrayfield Wanderers beat Crieff 32-0 in the final of the girls’ u18 tournament.
On Sunday there was a men’s seven-a-side tournament, which incorporated players from both the club and University game, a women’s seven-a-side tournament and a mixed Touch rugby tournament to boot. In the final of the men’s sevens tournament, Heriot’s beat Hillhead/Jordanhill 19-12 and Murrayfield Wanderers won their second tournament of the day as they conquered RHC 17-10 in the senior women’s final.
To top it all off, some of the stars of Scotland’s senior XVs team were on hand to sign autographs and meet the kids – Jason White, Scott Murray, Chris Cusiter, Kelly Brown, Mike Blair, Hugo Southwell and the world’s most capped women’s player, Scotland’s very own Donna Kennedy, were among those who kept an eye on all the Martin Currie Festival of Rugby action.
Jason White said: “It’s been a great couple of days. It’s clear that everyone’s enjoying themselves and it’s been the perfect opportunity for people to sample the fun side of rugby. Hopefully the folk who came along here today will come back in August to support Scotland against South Africa and Ireland.”
Right in the middle of all the Festival of Rugby action was the warm-up pitch for the senior international sevens teams taking part in the IRB Sevens World Series event. All the Festival of Rugby participants thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to watch and play next to such international stars.
Glasgow mum, Margaret Aitken, who came to the event with her family, said: “The kids have been getting into everything – they’ve been on the bouncy castle, had their photo taken with the World Cup, tried out the skills zones and had just about everything that they could signed by the Scotland players! Being able to get so close to the teams when they’re warming up has been amazing.”
There was something for all ages: three-year-old Robbie from Melrose was enjoying all the action, particularly meeting the Scotland 7s mascot Scottie the dog. His disappointment in hearing that his favourite team, the Wellington Hurricanes weren’t playing was soon forgotten when he got his hands on a Glasgow 2014 balloon!
Scottish Rugby’s head of community rugby, Colin Thomson, said: “The festival has been a great success. Well done to all those teams who took part.
“Our thanks go to Martin Currie for sponsoring the event and all the staff and volunteers who made sure it all ran so smoothly, especially the volunteers who gave up their free time to give so many children such a great all-inclusive experience.
“More than a thousand people have taken part over the two days and the spirit surrounding the event has been brilliant. It’s been great to see the Scottish rugby community coming together to promote the game in such a positive fashion.”