Yet another reason to visit Belgium, more specifically Flanders, and very specifically Dendermonde: the biggest international 10-a-side rugby tournament! 94 teams from 14 different countries, that’s about 2.500 rugby players (the maximum capacity), mostly from France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
Dendermonde’s very own rugby club welcomes them every year since 1993 during the long weekend of Pentecost, with Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (in Dutch: Pinksteren) to recover from 3 busy days. From Friday evening to Sunday night, you can expect to see spectacular rugby matches of 25 minutes each, enjoy different styles of music, go to 3 crazy parties (yes, 3! On Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and even dress up if you like, because every year there is another central theme. In 2017, they choose ‘Jungle vibes’, in 2016 the area was filled with people dressed up as cowboys, Mexicans or Indians for the ‘Wild West’ theme. Rugby matches are played on 6 pitches and start from 9:00 on Saturday morning and end around 20:00. On Sunday the finals are played between 17:00 and 19:00. This year’s and last year’s winners were Sport Lisboa e Benfica (ladies, Portugal) and Seventise (men, France). Spectacular extra: a helicopter delivers the ball for the final.
Next year, in 2018, will be the 25th anniversary of Flanders Open Rugby.
I already can’t wait to see what they come up with. In recent years it has become more of a festival and as many people know, Belgium is gooood at festivals. For the locals this is one of the biggest sportive events in the area, also thanks to the (in)famous parties and very social atmosphere. 😉
So save the date and for the participating rugby players out there (men, women and Old Boys): see you next year! With so many nationalities present, I see it as a trip just 5 kilometers from where I live. No need to go far sometimes. I’m glad I was able to see some matches and the final this year. Now at least I know what a ‘scrum’ means. 🙂 The Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan in 2019 and it’s on my list!
They only thing I don’t like about FOR: it’s just once a year. But with rugby becoming a more popular sport in Belgium, hopefully we’ll see many other, smaller events such as Flanders Open popping up. More information about the tournament here.
Here is the aftermovie of last year:
*doing a haka*