The Portugal Rugby Youth Festival is a popular annual rugby tournament that has been held in Lisbon since 2009. It is one of the largest youth rugby events in Europe, attracting teams from all over the world to compete in a friendly, competitive atmosphere. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of the festival, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a major international sporting event.
Origins of the Festival
The Portugal Rugby Youth Festival was first held in 2009, organized by Move Sports and the City of Oeiras. The tournament was created with the goal of promoting rugby among young people and attracting teams from several countries to compete in Lisbon. In its first year, the festival attracted just 28 teams, but it was a success and laid the groundwork for future editions of the tournament.
The early years of the Festival
In the early years, the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival continued to grow in popularity. More teams began to participate, including from South Africa, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The festival became known for its competitive atmosphere and its commitment to fair play, and it quickly became one of the most important youth rugby tournaments in Europe.
As the festival grew, Move Sports worked constantly to improve the event, added new facilities, and improved the quality of the tournament. In 2015, the festival hosted 80 teams from around the world, making it one of the largest youth rugby events in Europe. From then on, the number of attending teams kept rising.
The Festival's most recent years
In recent years, the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival has continued to grow in popularity and size. The 2019 edition of the festival hosted a record 118 teams, including from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The festival had become a major event on the youth rugby calendar, attracting teams of all ages and skill levels.
Due to COVID restrictions, in 2020 the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival had to adjust its format, welcoming only national teams. Nevertheless, the tournament bounced back in 2021 and is now growing continually.
The festival isn’t all just about rugby. In addition to the rugby matches themselves, the festival has become known for its social atmosphere. It has become a family event, with plenty of activities, fun, and entertainment including F&B, Fun Zone, brand activations, and so on. Foreign teams and their families stay in hotels in Lisbon and enjoy cultural events, such as sightseeing tours and cultural exchanges with local teams. This has helped to create a sense of community among the participating teams and has contributed to the success of the festival.
Aware of this event’s potential, the number of interested sponsors grew year by year, with major brands linked to this sports celebration.
The Portugal Rugby Youth Festival has become a beacon for youth rugby in Europe and has helped to promote the sport among young people globally. As the festival continues to grow, it will undoubtedly remain an important part of the international rugby calendar for years to come.