Twelve teams from five continents in one city. And not just any city: this is THE home of Munster Rugby Club. The World Club 7s Festival in Limerick City of Culture is going to be quite a party. Here’s what we’re looking forward to…
1 The rugby
Just in case you didn’t already know, Rugby 7s is what happens when you pit two teams of seven players against each other and give them just 14 minutes to win a game. It’s fast, hard hitting and it’s earned a reputation as a training ground for some of rugby’s greatest players (yes, Jonah Lomu, we’re talking about you).
This August 9 and 10, the world’s top teams are coming to Limerick’s fabled Thomond Park stadium to take part in the first ever Limerick World Club 7s Festival.
2 The teams
They’ll all be there… southern hemisphere giants Auckland, New South Wales Waratahs and South Africa’s Blue Bulls and Western Province, not to mention Saracens, Stade Français, Moscow, New York and the Vancouver Bears. And, of course, no rugby tournament would be complete without Ireland legends, Munster, who’ll be playing on their home ground at Thomond Park.
Wherever they come from, one thing’s for sure – these teams are here to win. Rugby 7s is now an Olympic sport (it’ll be making its debut at the 2016 Olympics in Rio) and the fierce competition the sport is known for has just got even tougher. In fact, teams will be using this festival to gear up for the World Club 7s 2014 tournament in Twickenham on 16-17 August.
3 The cheerleaders
Give us an L! Give us an I! Give us a…Oh, didn’t we mention the cheerleaders? Rugby 7s comes with a level of glitz and glamour not normally associated with a tough sport like rugby union. So prepare to be entertained by big hair, pom poms and high-octane routines.
4 The fans
Rugby 7 fans bring quite the carnival atmosphere with them and are famous for supporting their teams while wearing everything from face paint to cowboy outfits. So as you walk around Limerick, or stop in one of the city’s well-known rugby pubs (we like Peter Clohessy’s or Locke’s bar), you may see all manner of strange things.
5 The city of culture
As Ireland’s first ever City of Culture, Limerick is hosting a year-long party, and everyone’s invited – particularly rugby fans dressed as cowboys. Drag yourself away from the rugby and you can enjoy an eclectic range of events around the city – everything from fashion to food, music to craft. All with that special Limerick flair.
6 The sporting heritage
Limerick likes sport… hurling, horse racing, rowing and, of course, rugby. This is the home of the mighty Munster rugby team, after all. So what better place for Ireland to stage its first ever World Club 7s Festival?
If you want to find out more about Limerick’s sporting heritage, we recommend a visit to the Munster Experience Museum at Thomond Park. Here, you can try your hand at throwing a line-out with authentic Munster match balls and learn a little about what makes rugby such a potent force around here.
7 The holiday
Well now that you’re coming, you might as well make the most of your trip. Limerick city, with its great restaurants, museums and more cultural events than you can shake a stick at, may be more than enough for you.
But if you want to wander a bit further afield, did you know that Limerick is just a stone’s throw from the Wild Atlantic Way – one of the best touring routes in the world?
So there you have it – exciting rugby, a city in full-on party mode, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world just a short drive away… what are you waiting for? Book those tickets now.