Wooden Spoon fundraisers back home after northernmost game of rugby in history triumph
Former international rugby star Ollie Phillips has returned victorious from the Arctic after setting a new Guinness World Record for playing the northernmost game of rugby in history.
Ollie, who previously captained the England Rugby 7s team, was part of a group of ten men to take on a gruelling 60 mile trek to the Magnetic North Pole, finishing with the rugby match against a team led by fellow former international star, Tim Stimpson.
Dubbed The Arctic Rugby Challenge, the assignment was set by children’s rugby charity Wooden Spoon in a bid to raise over £300,000 towards helping disabled and disadvantaged children through the power of rugby.
The match could not kick off until a pitch had been set up on the arctic ice, with posts erected in freezing conditions, and the perimeter of the pitch measured and marked to all World Rugby regulations.
With both Ollie and Tim captaining a side, it was Stimpson’s team who triumphed in the end with a close 17-14 victory.
The ten courageous challengers have now landed back on UK soil, having braved treacherous conditions and temperatures as low as -30◦C.
Barry Monahan, Chief Operating Officer at Wooden Spoon, said: “It’s a phenomenal achievement to make it to the North Pole, but to then play a game of rugby is an extraordinary feat. The conditions were very challenging, and the group showed great determination and free spirit throughout. We are delighted.”
Ollie Phillips added: “I can’t quite believe that we’ve done it, it’s an amazing feeling. The Arctic is an incredible yet dangerous place, and we needed to be on the top of our game to make sure we didn’t make any mistakes during the trek, as one lapse in concentration could have been catastrophic.”
It’s not the first time adrenaline junkie Ollie has taken on such a challenge, having also completed the Clipper sailing race around the Atlantic as part of the Great Britain team.
Between 2004 and 2009, Ollie appeared in 17 World Series tournaments, captaining the side in his final year when they clinched a first Wellington Sevens title and went on to win the prestigious London Crown.
The Bluebeards Revenge was delighted to sponsor Ollie as a Wooden Spoon ambassador and Arctic Rugby Challenger. So a massive thanks goes to Ollie for flying the Bluebeards flag at the North Pole.