By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Rio Rugby Club, one of the oldest and most established in the state, has just hosted their annual beach rugby tournament over the weekend and has reorganized for 2017. After all the growth that accompanied the Rio 2016 Olympic inclusion of the sport, the field has opened up.
Brazilian Edgard Freitas Cardoso is the new president of the club this year, and 2017 is the first time that the entire management of the club is comprised of Brazilians. It reflects the success and growth of popularity of rugby in the area.
Cardoso explains that the shift indicates an “alliance with younger people who have joined the club in recent years. Also the members of the growing female team have increasingly participated in the organization and administration of the club, which is a very good trend for the future.”
Speaking about the beach rugby tournament held on January 27th and 28th in Copacabana, Cardoso explains, “That’s the major event in our schedule, all produced by the Rio Rugby technical team. That’s the kick-off of the Brazilian rugby season in all the country and it’s one of the biggest of the world in this specific genre.”
Regarding the Olympic legacy for the sport in Rio, he shares, “We couldn’t be happier with the amount of people coming to us crazy to learn more about this amazing sport! And the best part is that, thanks to the Olympics, they’ve seen it before and actually know some important rules even before they start training.”
Cardoso explains another legacy is the Federal University of Rio now has an official size Rugby field built to international standard. It has been used for local clubs and competitions, even some international clubs have been there. “That’s the greatest material legacy from the Olympics for Brazilian rugby,” he adds.
Eyes forward for 2017, Cardoso shares, “We’re also looking forward to the Super Sevens 2017, the national Rugby 7s league. Recently qualified as state champion, our male adult team is working very hard for this competition! We want to be amongst the three best teams in Brazil in 2017 so that we can ask for government financial help for some of our best athletes.”
The growing interest in woman’s rugby is a big success point as well, and after years of trying, the club has finally put together a strong female team and started the state female 7s league. Cardoso explains, “Our girls for the first time in the Rio Rugby’s history have a real chance of winning the state female 7s league, so we are working very hard on this as well and our goal is to be second greatest team in Rio de Janeiro.”
Although the club has grown and evolved to a mainly Carioca squad, they are still very open to foreigners joining. Cardoso shares, “The Rio Rugby FC club is always open to all who want to share Rugby and Rugby to find friends, strengthen ties and always have fun.”
Adding, “Every Wednesday the traditional Touch Beach [is held in Ipanema], where the main names of Rio rugby and many veterans keep the tradition alive.” Find out more about the club, different teams, events and social programs at their web site.