Diani Touch Rugby

This year Diani Beach Touch Rugby Tournament celebrates its tenth anniversary and promises to be yet another great sporting event and one of the highlights of the coastal


Bringing together teams from across Kenya, and further afield, the 5-aside tournament is a fast-flowing and action-packed spectacle taking place in an unrivalled location on Diani's famous white sand beaches. Hosted by the popular Forty Thieves Beach Bar, the tournament takes place on 27th, 28th and 29th July.

The tournament opens at 8 pm on Friday 27th July, with matches taking place under floodlights over 4 pitches along the beach. The night-time matches are usually one of the highlights of the tournament, providing a great opening extravaganza to kick-off this fun-packed weekend. The fun and social atmosphere that characterises the tournament is sure to go on long after the floodlights have been turned off, with Forty Thieves putting on an exciting line-up to mark the event, including live bands and DJs that will provide entertainment late into the night.

All matches last 15 minutes with the matches on Friday and Saturday run on a league basis, whilst the Sunday games are knock-out style. Games are played to the Federation of International Touch rules, and as the name of the game suggests, touches replace full-on tackling making it a more amateur friendly sport.

As 'time and tide wait for no man', the tournament is run to a strict time-table. Indeed, the logistics involved in organising a tournament on the beach with daily high tides are one of the key challenges for the event hosts. This challenge has meant the organisers have focussed on improving the quality rather than the size of the tournament, and over the years the standard of play has improved immensely to the benefit of all involved.

Saturday's matches start at 9 am and go on throughout the day, whilst Sunday's knockout games are played in the morning, again starting at 9 am, with the tournament wrapping up before 2 pm when the prize-giving takes place.

The tournament tries to be as inclusive as possible with school teams, woman's teams, mixed teams and veteran's teams (40+) all taking part.

And for those who prefer to keep their involvement firmly to the side-lines, the beautiful location, the rugby talent on show and of course the fun and party-like atmosphere that

accompanies the event are reason enough to go along.

Diani's Touch was started in 2008 by George Barbour, veteran rugby player and owner of Forty Thieves Beach Bar. He got the idea when refereeing a much less rule-oriented version of touch rugby taking place during 'Diani Rules', another annual fun- packed event that takes place on Diani's beaches. The brainwave prompted George to talk to a few of his rugby contacts who all thought it was a great idea. The fact that the tournament is now celebrating its tenth year is proof enough that they were right!