A Brief History of The Bustards
The Bustard Eagles RFC [the Bustards] was formed in 1988 to participate in a tournament for players over 35 years of age that was being held in conjunction with the World Expo 88 in Brisbane. This tournament was organised by The XXXX Goldies RFC, a team that formed at Ballymore in early 1983 primarily to participate in a World Goldies festival in Sydney later in 1983.
Generally the Bustards play other teams consisting of over 35 year old players conforming to the international Golden Oldies laws which allow unlimited interchange, de-powered scrums, three 20 minute ‘halves’ and, unfortunately, no kicking outside ones own 22 meters line. Players over 60 wear red shorts and are not to be tackled. It is also desirable that games end in a ‘draw’ so competitive competition is downplayed. There is not a season whereby finals are played at the end of the year.
The Goldies movement has an international tournament every two years in alternating hemispheres where over 150 teams participate, though New Zealand and Australia provide 60% of attendees. The motto of the Goldies movement is ‘fun, friendship and fraternity’.
There is also a ‘Masters’ organisation that is played in age brackets of over 30, 40, 50 and 60, scrums are still de-powered and normal under 19 rugby laws apply which allow for kicking skills to be bought into play. There are ‘winners’ in this form of rugby however there is no formal domestic competition at present. Both a World Master Games and an Australian Master festival are held every couple of years.