Ten days in the Philippines and Hong Kong has reinforced my opinion that Sevens becoming an Olympic sport will transform the game of rugby into a mega-sport.
Murray Mexted, The Roar
Sevens and Tens are really an entertainment product akin to Twenty/20 and one-day Cricket.
I spent the day at the Basin Reserve the other days watching an outstanding South African cricket side dominate in New Zealand. The Basin is one of those classic grounds derived from the English ‘village green’ concept.
I went with my family, put the rug on the grass bank, lay there and experienced a delightful but relaxed Test match atmosphere.
Test cricket remains exactly what it was twenty years ago: Test cricket. It will never pull the crowds that the shortened version does because it appeals to true lovers of the game, whereas fast and furious one-day cricket draws people who want to be entertained and to enjoy this peculiar sport.
I use the word peculiar because for cricket’s new market, it is a sport that is difficult to understand. It takes several days to complete a match where more than often there is no result.
Sevens and Tens rugby is all about speed and technique. There is nowhere to hide on the Sevens field.
The number one quality is speed, but speed is exposed if you do not have the back-up of quality skills and technique.
There is no doubt that Asian teams and teams from other emerging rugby markets will be able to compete more effectively at Sevens or Tens before XVs.
We had an interesting approach at IRANZ recently from Jamaica. The Jamaican politician I met with wanted us to put together a strategic plan for the four-year development of a world-class Sevens team.
Yes, that is correct. The politician’s opinion was that Jamaica has the fastest runners in the world. As rugby requires outside speed, and they possess and develop super athletes, why could they not be developed into a world-class rugby 7’s team to challenge for Olympic Gold?
I can’t help but agree.
The mouth waters with the challenge of identifying fifty or sixty super athletes at 15 or 16 years of age and working with them over a four year period.
I see rugby Sevens and Tens as a means of developing better and higher quality rugby players and referees (the Hong Kong Sevens exposed a much celebrated referee for not understanding the breakdown laws). It will make the game better, and without doubt, will change the pecking order of this great sport within a short(ish) period of time.
The question, of course, is how long is shortish?
In my view, not long at all.
It is time for Australia and New Zealand, to a lesser degree, to stop splitting their talent pool with similar sports or going forward they won’t compete.
Question: where is Rugby League and Australian Rules played outside Australia?