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World Vintage Rugby Carnival coming to Christchurch in 2008

1 September 2006

Vintage Rugby is bringing its international carnival to New Zealand for the first time, with confirmation that the 2008 event will be staged in Christchurch, the heartland of New Zealand rugby, from 14-20 September 2008.

This will be the third World Vintage Rugby Carnival after the first took place in Ireland in 2004 and the second is held in Argentina later this month.

Carnival Co-Coordinator Paul Gleeson from Vintage Sports & Leisure says team entries are expected from all over the rugby world, including the USA, UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Asia and New Zealand.

“The number of visiting teams will be restricted to 80 and matches will be played on 15 fields at three host clubs: Marist Albion RFC, Burnside RFC, and Merivale & Lincoln University RFC,” Mr Gleeson says.

“The three host clubs have wonderful fields and hospitality facilities, and are less than 15 minutes from the centre of the city.  This carnival will certainly be conducive to our aims of providing maximum enjoyment both on and off the field,” said Mr Gleeson.

Vintage Rugby is a rapidly growing international movement for men over 35 years of age. The carnival in Buenos Aires later this month has attracted unprecedented support with 51 teams and over 1200 visitors from 12 countries attending. It is expected that these numbers will increase for the Christchurch event.

“Vintage Rugby is designed to totally reflect the wishes of the players and our carnivals are organised to their specifications.  The venue was chosen after we polled our extensive database, and we couldn’t have asked for a better and more hospitable environment.

“New Zealand also offers a multitude of activities off the field to guarantee a memorable visit, a true rugby experience and an outstanding event. As the home of the champion Crusaders, Christchurch is a fanatical rugby centre renowned for its hospitality.

“The carnival is being staged with the full support of the Canterbury Rugby Union and Christchurch City Council which has committed significant resources and funding to support a worldwide marketing plan to attract veteran rugby sides to New Zealand.”

Mayor of Christchurch Garry Moore says the City Council is right behind the carnival.

The Christchurch City Council is fully backing the carnival and expecting a memorable celebration of rugby. It’s not by chance that Christchurch continues to attract some of New Zealand’s most prestigious events. With a compact city centre and proximity of attractions and facilities to one another, Christchurch is the perfect location for the 2008 World Vintage Rugby Carnival,” Mr Moore says.

The 2008 carnival will offer two sections for men: 35–45 years, and 46 years and over. The carnival programme includes three playing days (one game for each team on each day).  Teams will be grouped together in sections to ensure that teams of similar ages play each other. Official referees will be used for all games.

Mr Gleeson says Vintage Rugby would continue to offer an opportunity for mature sportsmen and women to travel to popular destinations in the name of rugby, to meet new and old friends in a relaxing, social, non-competitive and well-organised environment which will deliver what they want from a rugby experience.

“By all these measures, Christchurch will be a magnificent venue for the 2008 carnival.”   

The week’s activities will also include an official opening ceremony in Cathedral Square, followed by a parade of teams, an opening cocktail party and a grand finale function.

Full details about the 2008 World Vintage Rugby Carnival are on the event website


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