The Dubbo Showground may not seem like the typical location for a beach rugby tournament.
But on October 27 it will be transformed by about 500 tonnes of sand for the Dubbo Rhinos Rugby Club’s inaugural beach event.
President Ian Burns said it will be a unique event with a festival atmosphere, and urged people from across country NSW to take part.
“It’s a unique idea and we’ve seen them held, obviously, on the coast where the beaches are and we just wanted to do something a bit unique, a bit exciting and a bit of fun,” he said.
“It’s also great news that NSW Rugby have come on board and really supported it. They’ve given us some great ideas and guidance in how to run, hopefully, a successful event.
“We’ve also got the Waratahs Daikin blow-up arena. We’re getting that freighted up during the week and we’ll blow that up so that will be the arena for us to play in, on top of the sand!”
Dubbo Sand and Soils is a major sponsor and will be tasked with delivering the estimated 10 truck and dog loads to the showground in the days prior to the event.
“We’re looking at about 12 inches, a foot of sand over the entire arena,” Burns said.
“So there’s a fair bit of sand there!”
The one-day tournament will be limited to 16 teams – aiming for 10 men and six women – who will play according to World Beach Rugby rules.
Teams will field five players at a time on a field measuring 40 metres by 37 metres, with unlimited interchanges and no scrums or line-outs.
“It’s modified rules but it’s still rugby, so it’s tackle and placing the ball back,” Burns said.
“It will be really interesting with five-a-side – you’d imagine a minimum of two at a tackle – it’s going to leave some space but you are running on sand so it’s going to be interesting.
“There’s a bit of running involved so it’s going to work the calves and the thighs I’d imagine.”
The competition will be limited to just one day in its inaugural year, with plans to make it an annual event and perhaps extend it to two days, depending on interest, in future years.
Teams from the coast are encouraged, but Burns was especially keen to see bush teams try something new.
“We really want to promote the Central West, and anywhere bush, to come and have a go at it, and enjoy the day,” he said. “We really want to give back to areas of the bush.
“Anyone who wants to come for the day and have a look, we’ll have the grandstand here … It will be something quite unique.”