Rugby in the Snow - Tournoi des Six Stations 2018
Calling all rugby fans! Something exciting is happening in the French Alps next week. Former international and non-professional rugby players are heading to the slopes to play in the 6th annual Le Tournoi des Six Stations – a rugby seven-a-side tournament with a twist. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Alps next week, don’t miss the action…
What is the ‘Le Tournoi des Six Stations’?
The tournament is made up of 6 teams, submitted by ski stations (station is the French for resort) from around the Alps. Each team is made up of five ex-international players and six amateurs, who compete against one another in rugby games - played on the snow!
Each day, three matches are played in a different resort. Each match lasts 16 minutes, played in two 8 minute halves. The matches may be relatively short, but the impressive full-day programme starts with village entertainment at 9 am, with the bulk of the action taking place from around 3 pm, followed by match kickoffs at 6:30 pm.
Each resort will play one match against each other; the outcome of these games will determine a ranking. On the last day, the final matches take place – the team in 6th place meets the 5th place team, the 4th place team meets the 3rd place team and the 2nd place team meets the 1st place team to decide the champions. The winning team will receive the glorious trophy – while the team who comes last receives… a rather more inglorious wooden spoon.
Where can I watch Le Tournoi des Six Stations?
For the 2018 edition of the event, the six resorts hosting the Tournoi des 6 Stations are:
- Val Thorens – Monday 12th February
- Les Menuires – Tuesday 13th February
- Valmorel – Wednesday 14th February
- La Clusaz – Thursday 15th February
- Châtel – Friday 16th February
- Megève – Sunday 18th February
All matches are free to watch and the action-packed programme is perfect for all ages. Last year France international Brian Liebenberg led some keen children through some rugby training games before the matches began, so keep an eye for fun opportunities on the day.
Who will be there this year?
In 2018, many new and familiar players with world-class reputations will join each resort squad. Players include the likes of Mike Tindall, Iain Balshaw, Oliver Magne, Rory Lawson, as well as the former World Cup Captain for Japan, Takuro Miuchi. Former England International Simon Shaw will also be participating in this years’ event, and when he met with Erna Low’s Managing Director Jane Bolton, he described how difficult it was to play rugby on the snow after a hard days skiing and possibly the odd bit of après-ski!
Who created ‘Le Tournoi des Six Stations’?
The idea for the Six Stations Rugby Tournament came from retired French fly-half Yann Delaigue when he was enjoying a ski holiday in La Clusaz with friends. He began throwing a rugby ball around outside a bar, and it was not long before a large crowd started to gather. He soon realised that people who love rugby and skiing shared similar values; solidarity, sharing, mutual respect and team spirit. It was one of his friends that came up with the ‘Six Nations/Six Stations’ pun.
For more information and the full list of rugby internationals playing this year, visit the official Tournoi des Six Stations website. The organization is also raising money for underprivileged children in Africa, linking sports, education and health - please donate by visiting their Go Fund Me page.