Time for a pre-season rugby sevens competition
With rugby sevens entering the Olympics in 2016 there’s been a fair bit of discussion on The Roar about how the ARU can leverage this form of the game for the betterment of rugby union in Australia.
Most of this discussion has been on attracting and developing junior players and new talent.
But what about using sevens to increase the exposure of elite rugby in this country? I think we need more than just the Gold Coast event.
At the same time, we can increase our chances of winning Olympic gold.
My idea is that the ARU should run a pre-season tournament with a significant cash prize that would be similar in style to the old Rugby League World Sevens.
The tournament would run over two days and involve 12-16 teams. All Australian Super Rugby sides would compete with other teams coming through a qualifying tournament or invited from NZ, the Pacific Islands and the NRL.
Every year there is talk of a Wallabies versus Kangaroos match. Every year it gets shot down. Perhaps sevens is a more realistic way of getting stars from both codes competing against each other.
What’s in it for the league teams? Cash, exposure and ultimate bragging rights if they win. If they lose, well it’s another sport isn’t it.
League teams have won rugby sevens tournaments before. Both Wigan (1996) and Bradford Bulls (2002) have won the Middlesex sevens in England.
Free-to-air coverage would be the aim for such a tournament. Like all great sevens tournaments, it would be an event with a party atmosphere.
It should be played in Sydney or Brisbane, at least to begin with.
A key benefit is that a tournament like this would give our best backs and loose forwards more experience playing sevens rugby.
By the time we get to picking our squad for the Olympics we would know which fifteens players are likely to increase our gold medal chances.
I think it would be a great way to start the rugby season. What do you think, Roarers? Could it work?
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