With the Premiership Rugby season just around the corner, the annual Singha 7s tournament gives supporters a bite size taste of the thrill, passion and fierce competition they can expect when the main league gets underway.
Some sceptics see it as an excuse for clubs to keep revenue ticking over during the off-season months; charging fans to watch the lesser-known players make their mark. Others dampen spirits by labelling it as ‘not important’. This is an attempt to devalue the achievement of qualifying through to the final stages of the competition. However, with Sevens making it’s highly anticipated debut at the Olympic Games in Rio in a matter of days; now is the perfect time for this form of the much loved sport to come into the limelight.
Opportunity for Players
In the midst of the top-league battle of the Premiership and it’s star players who prove heroes in victory and defeat, it’s easy to forget their younger, less experienced teammates who train day in, day out but receive very little of the glory. With the removal of LV Cup from last year’s calendar, there was scarce opportunity to prove their worth. There was little chance to rub shoulders with the top dogs of the Premiership in fear of replacing more dependable and certain players.
The last thing any director of rugby wants to do is to have a risky selection fall flat on it’s face. This not only brings their decision making skills into question, but also sees the players’ ability on pitch scrutinised too. On more occasions than not, both parties are prepared and talented enough for this not to happen. However, having a chance such as the Singha 7s, these players can quench their thirst for competitive game time whilst showing their skills off in the faster, higher-octane version of the regular 15s game.
It also allows supporters and coaches to eye-up future talent. Its an opportunity to see those coming through the ranks of not only their own clubs, but rival clubs as well. Northampton Saints, for example, boast two invaluable youngster’s who have spring-boarded from the Singha 7s sphere into first team success – Harry Malinder and Teimana Harrison. With these two already having had top-flight achievements (Malinder as Under 20’s Championship winning captain and Harrison with two senior England caps to his name); this year’s academy hopefuls can take inspiration to make the most of this opportunity. They can get their name in the frame for next season’s first team Premiership action.
Sevens in the Spotlight
Rugby hasn’t featured at an Olympic games in 92 years. Since it’s last appearance as the 15s form in 1924, the game has developed into the globally popular professional franchise it is today. Sevens rugby harnesses the speed, skill and spirit of the sport. It is watched by millions around the world every year thanks to the HSBC World Sevens Series. The shorter version of the 15s game appeals to a wider audience largely because it’s simpler rules makes it easier to follow. It still includes the brave and bone-crushing physicality of the 80 minute game that gives rugby it’s uniqueness.
Televised to the world from 6th to 11th August, Sevens at the Olympics is going to grow exponentially. The build up it has received makes this Singha 7s series more exciting than usual. Being more accessible than the Olympics, it will act as an ideal warm up for the sport to take to the international stage.
Nothing beats a bit of old-fashioned rivalry and between the 12 Premiership clubs and the four Welsh clubs taking part, this 7s tournament is full of it. Two pools have already taken place in Cardiff and Exeter last weekend. Reigning champions Newport Gwent Dragons failed to qualify for the final of August 7th at the Ricoh Arena. This has blown the whole competition wide open. Instead Cardiff Blues and Ospreys went through. They join pool B winners Exeter Chiefs and 2015 runners-up Wasps in the final. The Coventry based side are hosts on the 7th. They will be looking to remedy last years heartbreak. They lost in the dying seconds to Newport Gwent Dragons and had to settle as second best.
This weekend sees London sides Saracens and Harlequins travel to Franklin’s Gardens to battle it out against Northampton Saints and Gloucester under Friday night lights in pool C. Saturday sees the remaining four teams of Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers compete for the last two qualifying spots a week on Sunday.
It’s all to play for, and the stakes have never been higher.
Remaining Pool Games
|29/07/2016||19:00||Northampton Saints 7s||v||Harlequins 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|29/07/2016||19:25||Gloucester Rugby 7s||v||Saracens 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|29/07/2016||19:55||Gloucester Rugby 7s||v||Harlequins 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|29/07/2016||20:20||Northampton Saints 7s||v||Saracens 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|29/07/2016||20:50||Harlequins 7s||v||Saracens 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|29/07/2016||21:15||Northampton Saints 7s||v||Gloucester Rugby 7s||Franklin’s Gardens|
|30/07/2016||15:00||Newcastle Falcons 7s||v||Sale Sharks 7s||Kingston Park|
|30/07/2016||15:25||Leicester Tigers 7s||v||Worcester Warriors 7s||Kingston Park|
|30/07/2016||15:55||Leicester Tigers 7s||v||Sale Sharks 7s||Kingston Park|
|30/07/2016||16:20||Newcastle Falcons 7s||v||Worcester Warriors 7s||Kingston Park|
|30/07/2016||16:50||Sale Sharks 7s||v||Worcester Warriors 7s||Kingston Park|
|30/07/2016||17:15||Newcastle Falcons 7s||v||Leicester Tigers 7s||Kingston Park|