Nabil Al Busaidi
23 Feb 2023
The first Oman Touch 6s International event proves what Oman Rugby is capable of.
In December 1995, I played my first ever game for Muscat RFC. The Muscat 10s were held to celebrate the opening of the new club house in Al Khuwair. It was one of the biggest rugby tournaments held in Oman, with teams from all over the Middle East, and beyond. A team from the South Seas came first, with a UK team coming second, and Muscat RFC third.
Fast forward 27 years, and Oman Rugby held its largest rugby tournament to date, with the Oman Touch 6s. And in beautiful, but unintentional symmetry, a team from the South Seas (OK, it was Kuwait, but most of the players came from “down under”) came first, with a UK team coming second (2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment), and Muscat RFC third.
Over two days, we saw some of the most incredible displays of skillful rugby. Touch rugby emphasises speed, stamina and teamwork, and there was plenty on display. None more so than the winner of the “spirit of rugby” award. This is Oman Rugby’s way of recognising a player or moment that makes players glad that they are rugby players, or spectators wish they were rugby players.
In a back and forth encounter, the Colts had the ball intercepted by Q8, with a breakaway try on the cards, but the kids did not give up, chasing down the adults, who eventually coughed the ball up in an intercepted pass. The colts progressed the ball up the pitch, chased hard by the men from Kuwait. Only skillful passing back and forth kept the ball alive until the kids scored.
That moment not only had teammates cheering, but the opposition also took time to stop and applaud a great passage of play…as well as all the onlooking spectators.
Things have certainly changed in 27 years. Instead of playing on sand in the middle of nowhere, we were playing on grass in a stadium. Instead of spectators spending half time clearing the pitch of stones, we had VIP hospitality. Instead of players doubling as referees, we had qualified officials officiating games.
But one thing that has not changed is the ability for rugby to bring people together. Intense competition on the field, and camaraderie off the field shows that the core values of rugby are just the same as they always were.
Integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.
Hopefully that will remain unchanged over the next 27 years.