Within most sports, be it football, tennis or motor racing, there always seems to be a focal point. By this I mean football is typically focused on 11-a-side, tennis has its men’s and women’s singles, and Motorsport leads with F1.
Although popular, 5-a-side football, doubles tennis and Formula 3 don’t exactly crgenerate much hype around their sports, especially when compared to their superiors.
Yet, in rugby a different pattern seems to be emerging…
One simply has to look at the success of Rugby 7s at the recent (although it seems like ages ago) Rio Olympics to understand the sport’s growing prestige.
It’s often seen as XV’s little brother but for how much longer I wonder? This fast paced end explosive spectator-friendly sport, is beginning to generate the kind of media attention it deserves.
As the XV's season begins to wind down, especially at grassroots level, we’re turning much of our attention to the nippy and exhilarating 14 minute matches (20 minute matches in any final) that provide non-stop entertainment for their crowds.
For anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with the sport, or hasn’t given it the time of day, I thought I’d give you a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait until next year to attend your first 7s tournament.
Running Rugby on Tap
Let’s face it, everyone loves seeing the floodgates open and tries flow in left, right and centre. Now, maths has never been my forte but 14 players playing on a pitch designed for 30 = a hell of a lot of grond for defenders to cover. Watch the speed demons exploit the ever-present gaps, whilst the bigger lads do their best to steal the ball in any kind of tackle situation.
It's a game of chess played at the intesity of NAS Cars.
It’s a Great Day Out
We all love a day out at the rugby. Beers and banter flowing, accomapnied by the prospect of seeing some great rugby, equates to liquid fun. However, for some people, sitting in a stand on a rather morbid day for 80 minutes is a no-go.
Counter that with a 7s tournament, that acts more like a beer or music festival and there’s no way you won’t have fun. Fast paced rugby fixtures that change every 15 minutes, combined with drinks tents, DJs and some whacky fancy dress – what’s not to like!?
Simple Set Piece
God, that bloody scrum – when it’s good it’s a real eye-catching battle but when things don’t go swimmingly e.g. the 6 Nations match between France and Wales, it's painful for all. I mean honestly, what was that?
No such aggravation is experienced when watching 7s as things happen at a rapid rate of noughts. Both lineouts and scrums are only contested by 2 or 3 players and are over and done within the blink of an eye.
As I said earlier, it’s all about running rugby, and retaining possession – no one has time for arduous and time consuming set pieces.
Traditions are Somewhat Overlooked
Rugby is a gentleman’s sport, in which everyone involved is encouraged to respect the referee and behave like...well a gentleman.
Now i'm not saying that as soon as everyone crosses the 7s threshold they lose their moral compass, bu 7s is a rather more informal version of the sport. Raucous crowds, very loud strips and an inner festival vibe all mean spectators go to the 7s for the whole shebang.
Bournemouth 7s has the longest outside bar in Europe ad is called the sports version of Glastonbury. Enough said.
Separates the Wheat from the Chaff
This may be a simplified and shortened version of XV’s but that does not make it any easier. I mean this sport is fuc**ng brutal.
The fitness needed to endure a full 15 minutes is incredible and the acceleration and footwork possessed by the best players to beat defenders, often defies logic.
OK, you may not see this level of skill at your local club’s tournament but you should still worship the ground any of the players walk on, such is the difficulty to excel in this sport.
Make it down to your club's local 7s tournament, you certainly won't regret it!