News

Rugby with Altitude: LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge

Rugby stars to play highest ever game of rugby in history at Mount Everest.

Rugby stars Andy Gomarsall, Ollie Phillips, Shane Williams, and Tamara Taylor will attempt to set two world records on Mount Everest.  They will trek and play alongside 20 inspirational men and women to help raise more than £200,000 for children with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland.

Children’s charity of rugby, Wooden Spoon, has partnered with LMAX Exchange, the UK’s leading fintech company, as prime sponsor of the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge.

The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge takes place across 24 days (12 April 2019 to 5 May 2019) and will see the group battle acclimatisation and heights of 6,500 metres to play the highest game of full contact rugby and the highest game of mixed touch rugby in history – all in support of Wooden Spoon.

Rugby internationals, Andy Gomarsall, Shane Williams, Ollie Phillips and Tamara Taylor will be taking on a monumental challenge in April 2019 for Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby, and they are looking for people to join their ground breaking team.

There are limited places left in the team.  17 people are booked.  One woman and 16 men.  There are five places remaining. To take part, book your place today.

The four team captains, together with inspiring men and women from around the country, are in training to travel to above Advanced Base Camp on the North side of Mount Everest in Tibet in an attempt to set two Guinness World Records – one for the highest game of full contact rugby and one for the highest game of mixed touch rugby in history.

The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, will see the team push themselves to the limit as they trek across rugged terrain for five days – culminating at approximately 6,500 metres at Mount Everest where they will play two history making matches to raise a minimum of £200,000 for Wooden Spoon. The money raised will fund projects to help children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland.

The four team captains are:

  • Andy Gomarsall, 44, from Stockbridge. Andy is a professional rugby player who was part of the England rugby team that won the World Cup in 2003
  • Ollie Phillips, 34, from London. Ollie is a professional rugby player who played wing or full back for England Sevens and won World International Sevens Player of the Year in 2009
  • Shane Williams MBE, 41, is a Welsh rugby player most famous for his long and successful tenure as a wing for the Ospreys and the Wales national team. He is the record try scorer for Wales
  • Tamara Taylor, 36, is an English female rugby player, who captained England in the 2015 Women’s Six Nations Championship. She was the 2017 RPA Player of the Year when she was one of only three women who had made more than 100 appearances for her country.

Sarah Webb, CEO at Wooden Spoon said: “We are very excited to be working with LMAX Exchange to deliver this ground breaking challenge at Mount Everest.  The money raised will make a real difference to our beneficiaries helping us work towards our vision that through the power of rugby, every child and young person has access to the same opportunities, no matter what their background. This marks our second partnership with the LMAX Exchange. In 2015, our joint efforts helped set a Guinness World Record for the northernmost game of rugby ever played at the North Pole.”

The Challenge

Starting at Kathmandu on Saturday 13 April 2019, the teams will take a few days to settle and wait for their Chinese visas and visit a local orphanage, where they will play rugby with and teach skills to local children and young people. By day four, they will begin their journey to Lhasa and begin the acclimatisation needed as they start their journey to Base Camp crossing the many high passes of Tibet.  By day nine they will have reached Base Camp where they will finally see the face of Mount Everest and by day 14 they will have reached 6,340m at Advanced Base Camp.

The team will then continue their acclimatisation and will attempt to play the rugby matches by day 18 at approximately 6,500 metres.  Guinness World record guidelines state that the highest game of full contact rugby would need to be single sex, to beat the world record set at 5,752m and achieved by The Steve Prescott Foundation (UK) at Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, on 18 October 2015.

Wooden Spoon, who champion diversity in the game of rugby, are also keen to play a mixed gender match, which can be played as touch rugby.

Tamara Taylor said: “I really like rugby, I really like helping people, and I like to challenge myself by doing things people say I can’t, or maybe shouldn’t! I’m afraid of heights and get that tingly feeling in my hands and feet when I look over the edge of something high, in fact, I’m getting it now just thinking about it.  But I want to raise vital funds for Wooden Spoon and break a World Record.  I need some more girls to join me.”

This is not the first Guinness World Record setting rugby challenge Ollie Phillips has achieved; he and former England international, Tim Stimpson led 11 challengers to the North Pole to play the northern most game of rugby in April 2015, raising £240,000 for Wooden Spoon.

Ollie Phillips said: “I am an ambassador for Wooden Spoon and was a team captain for the Arctic rugby challenge and a long term supporter of the charity. I am all about big statements, creating amazing memories to associate with Wooden Spoon. Setting a Guinness World Record in the North Pole was great and the fact we are aiming to set another two World Records is amazing. I love supporting Wooden Spoon, keeping the legacy going and to open people eyes up of the world of adventure.”

Everest Supporters

The Challenge is sponsored by LMAX Exchange, the global high-growth financial technology company with headquarters in the UK. LMAX Exchange CEO, David Mercer, who also took part in and sponsored the Arctic Rugby Challenge said: “We are very pleased to be sponsoring the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge. As UK’s leading fintech, LMAX Exchange has aimed high to break new ground, pioneering the exchange execution model for FX, and charting new territory with the first ever institutional physical cryptocurrency exchange. The courageous and trailblazing energy of this event is very much in line with our core values.

“We are committed to driving change not only in capital markets, but to positively impact the world around us. While LMAX Exchange is a relatively young company, we have an impressive track record of backing initiatives that support equal opportunities for people of all genders, backgrounds and abilities.

“This is our second partnership with Wooden Spoon and we are pleased to be partnering with a charity of its calibre. We wish all those involved the very best of luck.”

The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge will be delivered by Adventure Peaks who are record breakers themselves, with over 18 years of experience of leading expeditions on the North Side of Everest.

There are limited challenger places and sponsorship opportunities available. Find out more on the dedicated LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge pages.