WALES and Lions great Shane Williams has broken two incredible world records – after playing rugby at Mount Everest!
A group of former players and intrepid adventurers have entered the record books after contesting the highest game of rugby in history – 6,331m above sea level.
Williams, 42, played in full contact sevens action alongside ex-England international Lee Mears and against a team led by Ollie Phillips. The score ended 5-5.
The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, arranged by children’s charity Wooden Spoon, took place at 10.15am local time on the East Rongbuk Glacier on Tuesday April 30. This is near the Everest Advanced Base Camp.
The teams also played a game of touch rugby at 5,119m at Everest Base Camp – another new achievement awaiting ratification from officials at the Guinness Book of Worlds record.
The teams battled altitude sickness – the symptoms of which include severe headaches – lack of sleep, loss of appetite and severe shortage of breath.
One of the most difficult things was setting-up a full-sized rugby pitch, including flags and make-shift posts, at Everest in accordance with the record specifications.
Williams, who won two Grand Slams with Wales, said: “In arguably the world’s most spectacular setting for a rugby match but also the most unhospitable conditions, the game was incredibly tough.
“If you ran during the match it took 10 minutes to recover. That said, everyone put in 100% and there was some great rugby played. I can’t praise the team enough.”
The games were refereed by Tamara Taylor, a member of the England side that won the 2014 Women’s World Cup.
Taylor said: “The time spent at this altitude has taken its toll on all of us but the group summoned a second wind to play the game.
“The energy has been tremendous, with everyone rallying together to spur each other on and, even though we’re exhausted, we’re buzzing at the achievement.
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“After days of having to deal with one of the world’s harshest environments, we’re looking forward to coming down off the mountain and enjoying the feeling of have broken two world records and raised a lot of money for very worthwhile causes.”
More than £250,000 was raised for charitable projects for children around the UK and Ireland. Wooden Spoon uses the power of rugby to positively transform the lives of disabled and disadvantaged children.
To donate please visit everestrugby.org.uk. To share awareness on social media please use the #everestrugby hashtag.