Where Rugby Meets the Outback: Tackling the Hughenden Rugby 7s Experience

Strap yourself in for a weekend of rugby, outback hospitality, and mateship under the big Queensland sky! The Hughenden Rugby 7s is a unique event that’s become a fixture on the sporting calendar, and according to Dan Korff, one of the event organisers, it’s all about creating a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy the game.

A Growing Tradition Built on Outback Hospitality

The Hughenden Rugby 7s has blossomed into a regional attraction, year after year. Dan Korff, one of the event organisers, reveals the secret sauce: “It’s a combination of things,” he explains. “There’s the love of rugby in the north, of course, but also the well-structured format of the event itself. And honestly, the genuine hospitality of the Hughenden community can’t be overstated. It’s a unique event for a small, remote town, and we love having everyone come out. We figure, if folks travel all this way, they deserve a good event, a great party, and some great hospitality!”

This dedication to creating a memorable experience is the magic ingredient that keeps people coming back for more. Each year, the Hughenden Rugby 7s builds on its legacy, fueled by the passion of players, spectators, and sponsors.

But the appeal extends beyond just competition. For many young adults, the 7s offers a chance to reconnect with their rugby roots. “It’s a bit of a nostalgic glimpse into what our lives could have been!” Dan chuckles. “Seriously though, it’s a chance to just enjoy the game again, catch up with old mates from the playing days, and open the door for everyone else to experience it too.”

The condensed format of the 7s caters perfectly to busy schedules. It’s a chance to reminisce, rediscover your passion for rugby, and experience the thrill of the game under the breathtaking outback sky.

Everyone’s Welcome: Fostering Inclusivity

The Hughenden Rugby 7s throws open its doors to a wide audience, offering both men’s and women’s categories. As Dan Korff, one of the event organizers, explains, “We love rugby, and we love the bush. Which is exactly how HR7’s came into being.” Their passion translates into inclusivity: “Everyone is welcome, everyone is encouraged.”

This focus on inclusivity extends far beyond gender. The Hughenden Rugby 7s is all about fostering the future of rugby at its grassroots level. “We want to shape the future of rugby more broadly,” Dan says, “and HR7’s achieves that with a unique combination of experience as well as youth and new entrants to the game.” Their message is clear: anyone can play, and they want everyone to!

This welcoming atmosphere extends to skill level as well. “Absolutely all levels are encouraged to play,” Dan assures us. The organisers work with teams to ensure balanced competition. “We specifically ask skill levels and the teams will let us know which players may not be as skilled as others,” Dan explains. “That way, in collaboration with the teams and players themselves, we can make sure that nobody is too far out of their depth or in a potentially dangerous situation.”

The Outback Makes it Special

There’s something truly unique about playing rugby in the heart of Queensland’s outback. “I don’t know, it’s a combination of the people, the commitment that everyone makes to get here, and just being in the middle of nowhere and doing what we love comes together to make it very special,” Dan says.

The remoteness itself adds a special layer to the experience. You’re surrounded by like-minded people who share your love for the sport, creating a strong sense of camaraderie that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Beyond the Competition: A Celebration of Community

The Hughenden Rugby 7’s isn’t just about the games themselves. It’s a celebration of community spirit. Local businesses get behind the event, with a welcome function on Friday night to kick things off and delicious catering throughout the weekend. As Dan says, “Local businesses all get around the event…we give them  [the players] a good brekky the next morning back at the ground before getting into the first games.”

There’s even a free recovery breakfast to ensure everyone is fueled up and ready to go for day two. And let’s not forget the highlight reel – the mascot competition! Teams get creative, showcasing their team spirit through dance routines and skits, with a grand prize for the winner.

The festivities culminate in a celebratory Saturday night with a band, presentations, and a chance to unwind and bond with fellow rugby enthusiasts

Come Along

Whether you’re a seasoned rugby player yearning for a taste of glory days or a curious spectator wanting a glimpse into the world of outback sport, the Hughenden Rugby 7s welcomes you with open arms.  “Just come along!” is the enthusiastic invitation from Dan, one of the event organizers.

Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere with a team draw on Friday night at the iconic Great Western Hotel (typically 8:30 pm). Mingle with players and fellow spectators, feel the anticipation build, and prepare for a weekend of fast-paced action. Eighteen teams, hailing from diverse locations like Longreach, Cloncurry, Townsville and even Brisbane, will battle it out on the Hughenden Showgrounds Rugby Field. Best of all, entry is completely free! The games run from 8 am to around 5 pm on Saturday, followed by an evening of celebration with live music and a chance to bond with the rugby community.  Don’t miss out on this chance to experience the magic of outback rugby – visit the official Hughenden Rugby 7s website or follow them on social media for more information and updates.

Big thanks to Dan Korff from Hughenden Rugby 7’s for his contributions to this article. All images courtesy of Hughenden Rugby 7’s.

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