06 April 2021

Schools' Tag Rugby Festival sets date for 2021 Guernsey event

The annual Schools' Tag Rugby Festival is scheduled to return to Footes Lane this year on Saturday 24 April, with more than 140 children from across Guernsey's schools set to take part in the Carey Olsen sponsored event.

The Festival, which has been adapted this year to take into account local coronavirus guidelines, will consist of only a Years 5 and 6 competition rather than include a similar event for children from Years 3 and 4.

As usual, the Festival will see teams compete in tag rugby matches, the non-contact version of the game, played in squads of 10 players, with seven players on the pitch at any one time. Every player will be awarded a certificate of participation and a special fair play award will be presented to the team and coach in each age group that has best displayed the core values of rugby throughout the Festival: teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.

Rugby development officer Steve Melbourne MBE organises the event every year with the support of the team at the Guernsey Rugby Association and volunteers of all ages from the Guernsey Rugby Academy, clubs, schools and Guernsey College of Further Education.

Having had to cancel the event in 2020, Steve said the Guernsey Rugby Association, together with rugby development's new sponsors Carey Olsen, were determined, if conditions allowed, for the Festival to go ahead this year.

"Originally planned for 27 March, it was agreed to delay the Festival until Guernsey moved to Phase 3. Unfortunately, however, the recent lockdown meant it was impossible to ensure the younger age groups had received the required level of safe coaching. As a result, we chose to run a reduced Festival for Years 5 and 6 as most of these players will have participated in the Festival before or will have had some recent coaching.

"I cannot thank Carey Olsen enough for coming forward - during what are challenging times for all businesses - to support the development of island rugby at the grassroots level and for giving the children an opportunity to play in what over the years has always been a fantastic morning of rugby. As with all sporting events we will ensure that we work within the guidelines set by States of Guernsey for large gatherings."

Carey Olsen partner Jason Morgan added: "We are very pleased to support the Schools' Tag Rugby Festival for the first time this year. The event has grown in popularity every year and while it is a shame that organisers have had to reduce the number of children taking part, it is simply a fantastic achievement by Steve and everybody involved to make sure it can even return this year. The Festival provides a great opportunity for primary school children to learn about rugby in a fun and engaging way and we celebrate the fact all young islanders have the opportunity to take part.

"As a firm, Carey Olsen is also delighted to have become the new sponsor to the Guernsey Rugby Association's development team. Steve and the community rugby coaches lead a diverse and inclusive programme that offers young people access to a vibrant community and one that will hopefully give them a life-long love of sport and teamwork."

Refreshments for family, friends and players will be available throughout the Festival and supporters are welcome to attend and join in with the spirit of the event.

  • The Festival will take place at the Garenne Stand, Footes Lane, from 9.00am to 12.30pm on Saturday 24 April.