THE national Spanish rugby team played their first game in the European Nations Cup on Saturday, 11 February, in Madrid, against the reigning champions, Georgia.
The ENC competition, otherwise known as the Six Nations B League, is fought over by those countries just under the level of the Six Nations Countries and includes Georgia, Romania and Russia, all of whom have appeared at the Rugby Union World Cup Finals.
Georgia, who are ranked 14 in the world (just below Scotland, 11, and Italy, 12) and who won last year’s European Cup, were expected to run out easy winners against Spain who are ranked 22 in the world. However, Spain are beginning to show why they are being recognized as one of the stronger European nations outside of the six nations, and they won convincingly with a 25-18 victory after having led 18-8 at half time and now lead their group.
Rugby Union is one of the fastest growing sports in Spain and the progress being made at local, national and international level is phenomenal. The success of the national side, and the television coverage that the sport is now receiving will, hopefully, bring more and more interest in the game and encourage youngsters to start taking up the sport.
In Andalucia and on the Costas, there is a thriving rugby community with teams competing in the Andalucian League with teams all the way down the coast including Almeria, Motril, Granada, Jaen, Velez-Malaga, Malaga, Marbella, Sotogrande, Gibraltar and Algeciras, as well as the inland cities of Sevilla, Cordoba and Cadiz.
Most club teams are now hosting kids TAG , a form of non-contact rugby for children to introduce them to the sport without the fear of injury. At the Axarquia Rugby Club based in Velez-Malaga, TAG rugby sessions are held every Saturday from 12.00-13.30 for children aged between 5-13. Participation is free, good fun and a great way to encourage your children get fit.
For more information on joining Axarquia Rugby Club or if you would like to sponsor the Axarquia teams, please ring Michael on 669 899 064 or 952 514 898. Training for Axarquia Rugby Club is held at the Fernando Hierro Stadium in Velez-Malaga every Tuesday and Thursday from 19.00 for the juniors and 20.30 for the seniors (all age groups welcome).