Golden Oldies Rugby boss Steve Summerell in action during a match.
Golden Oldies Rugby boss Steve Summerell in action during a match.

Age no barrier for golden warriors

RUGBY UNION: What do the Battered Prawns, Krippled Kelpies, Broken Pizzels and the Grafton Bullrouts all have in common?

Answer – they’re Golden Oldies Rugby sides.

In September this year Sydney will host the 18th running of the Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival and for the Grafton Big River Bullrouts preparations are already underway to ensure Grafton are part of the week-long festivities.

Listen close: You can almost hear the hamstrings tearing and the backs cramping already.

As part of their lead-up to the event the Bullrouts are holding their annual Six Pack tournament at the rugby fields on Saturday, February 27 and according to club president Steve Summerell interest in the event is looking promising.

Players looking to revive past glory – or simply get out of house work for a weekend – are likely to slip on the boots.

“At this stage Manning, Port Macquarie, Barraba, Moree, Tweed, Avoca and Casino will be sending teams and I’m sure in the coming weeks we will receive further nominations,” Summerell says.

In preparation for the tournament he added the Bullrouts have been training hard – or as hard as can be expected.

They train on Tuesday nights at the rugby fields under the watchful eye of head strength and conditioning coach Joe McCabe.

Golden Oldies rugby players have a reputation of replenishing their fluid intake at half-time with all sorts of concoctions.

Sports drinks such as Gatorade are considered taboo by these rugby purists.

It’s another drink that tends to lift the players’ spirits.

“Our beverage of choice is a glass of port or pineapple dip-soaked in port… it’s a balanced supplement,” Summerell laughs.

Golden Oldies Rugby can be demanding on the body, particularly for those who indulge in late night ‘bonding sessions’ or for players approaching their twilight years.

For those who aspire to the notion that rugby is the ‘game they play in heaven’ - and are not too far off a stroll through the pearly gates themselves - rules have been introduced to accommodate players of all ages.

Summerell explains that everyone gets a fair go... well, sort of.

“For a start you need to be over 35 to play Golden Oldies. For those over 60 you are required to wear red shorts which means you can only be grabbed, not tackled,” he says.

“Over 70 players wear gold shorts and can’t be tackled and if you reach the ripe old age of 80 and beyond, purple shorts indicate the player cannot be touched.”

The main aim of all the action is the simple philosophy of fun and fitness on the field.

The event does not take itself too seriously and welcomes players of all experience.

Anyone interested in playing Golden Oldies Rugby, training is held each Tuesday night at the rugby grounds commencing at 6pm.

Players interested in taking part in the World Rugby Festival in Sydney in September can contact Joe McCabe on 0417439505

Golden Oldies Rugby Must have:

  • Injuries
  • Illness
  • Be aged over 35
  • Spare time
  • Fun attitude
  • A spare tyre

Must not have:

  • Speed
  • Fitness
  • Health
  • Agility
  • Serious attitude
  • A six-pack

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