On Saturday 15th April, the United Kingdom’s largest student-run rugby 7s tournament will take place in St Andrews. Anticipated by players and spectators alike, the tournament’s activities stretch from 9 am to 5 pm, followed by a notoriously rowdy after party. Despite the size of the forty-five year old institution, the event comes at a very affordable price: attending the games is free, and the afterparty tips the scales at a mere £25.
This year’s tournament will mark the official union of the Rugby Club and the St Andrews Cavaliers. The longest running team at the 7s, the Cavaliers play in honour of former Club captain Steven Sims, who passed away in 2012 after a battle with ITP. For the first time, the St Andrews 1st rugby team will be playing under the Cavalier name in the performance tournament. Guests can expect plenty of team kit on display throughout the day.
Fresh of its debut at last year’s 7s, the performance tournament is comprised of six high standard rugby teams from across the country. This allows players to enjoy the day by competing against their own skill level. The social tournament, featuring forty teams, will retain the amateur, inclusive feel that the 7s are known for, while the performance tournament will be a more competitive, spectacle-driven event.
Many familiar faces will be on display in the social tournament. Six St Andrews teams, made up of the various academic years within the Rugby Club, will play, including two recent alumni teams. Local establishments – such the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show, the Football Club, and Blackhorn – have also entered teams.
In addition to the performance and social tournaments, seven women’s teams will be competing amongst themselves. Smaller in scale than the centrepiece tournaments, it is nonetheless a welcome departure from the otherwise male-dominated activities.
With the spectators in mind: both food and drink will be provided at reasonable prices. Buffalo Farm, last year’s lauded food suppliers, will be serving burgers and BBQ throughout the day. Eden Mill, Pimms, and the Union’s famously cheap alcohol will also be available for purchase. The Union bar will make an further appearance at the afterparty, which – thanks to sponsorships from VK and Coors, among many others – is guaranteed to have the cheapest drinks in St Andrews.
Regardless of one’s affinity for rugby, the afterparty has a universal appeal. The event will be held, for the first time, within a marquee on North Haugh. This allows for an extra 300 tickets to be sold, in comparison to the more restrictive Kinkell Byre. Featuring T-shirt guns, various prizes, and an all star DJ lineup, the party promises to be more than just another Sinners. Rugby teams from around the country will be in attendance, and the casual dress code enforces a laid-back vibe that differentiates that event from its expensive, black tie contemporaries. Most importantly, the Blackhorn food truck will be on hand throughout the evening.
All things considered, it seems that Saturday will offer a mix of old and new traditions. Hopefully the sun will shine for what is sure to be an exciting day on the pitch!