World Club Sevens – Twickenham Stadium

Twickenham Stadium will be hosting a major new 7s tournament this weekend – The World Club 7s. A few years ago the profile of 7s rugby was lower, with many people seeing it as a the mini, not quite as good, version of the full 15s game. Fast forward to the present and 7s is well and truly on everyone’s radar all year around given the IRB World 7s Series, The JP Morgan 7s and most importantly its inclusion in the Olympics from 2016 onwards. In the build up the Rio 2016 there will be a series of new tournaments to provide players with extra competition and spectators with more chances to fall in love with this fantastic version of rugby.

This weekend 12 teams from all over the world will battle it out over 2 days to be crowned World Club 7s Champions. The format is as follows; 3 pools on day 1 before being divided into 3 cup competitions on Sunday. The top 2 from each of the Pools will qualify automatically for the Cup Quarter-Finals and the remaining 2 Cup Quarter-Final places will be given to the 2 highest ranked third placed teams from the three pools. The teams placed 9 to 12 following the Pool matches will play in the Shield. Simple right!!?! 

Pool A – Gloucester, Western Province, New York and VVA Moscow Region
Pool B – Buenos Aires, Northampton Saints, San Francisco, Blue Bulls
Pool C – ACT Brumbies, Auckland, Harlequins, Kuban Krasnador

Gloucester qualified for the tournament as winners of the JP Morgan 7s tournament last weekend with Northampton Saints and Harlequins being the other two UK representatives. The other countries represented are South Africa, Argentina, Russia, New Zealand and Australia. Also the USA have 2 teams – New York and San Francisco, with the team from San Francisco fielding the fastest man in World 7s Rugby – Carlin Isles. Carlin is an outstanding athlete, he has a 100m PB time of 10.13 seconds. This time would have secured him a place in the semi finals at London 2012, so I think that adds a bit of context as to just how rapid he is!!! He has only been playing 7s competitively since October 2012 on the World Series Circuit so he is still very much still learning and crafting his trade. He is definitely one to watch this weekend… for a sneak peak enjoy some of his tries here for size!

Carlin Isles in action for USA

This tournament is not only about showcasing some outstanding professional 7s talent it is also about raising the profile of the game and providing upcoming players with opportunities to shine. Last Sunday there was a selection day at London Wasps’ Training Ground where 50 hopefuls were put through their paces by ex England flanker Tom Rees and England 7s stars Tom Mitchell and Callum Wilson in an X Factor style selection day. Out of the 50 players 12 have been selected to make up the “Gilbert Barbarians Squad”,see the full squad list here. The squad will play together and take on the Army in a full fixture, as well as having the opportunity to fill in for any of the club sides if players in their squads are injured and need to be replaced. This is exactly the type of initiative that will raise the profile of 7s rugby and indeed may find us some fantastic, hidden talent.

Already a European Club 7s tournament is in the pipeline and as we march towards Rio 2016 the profile of 7s rugby will continue to grow and let’s hope that Team GB very quickly sort themselves out with a coach and get down to the hard graft of training for a Gold Medal.
To enjoy all of the World Club 7s Action this weekend head to the gorgeous Twickenham Stadium. I believe that tickets are still available through the usual sources – RFU.com,Ticketmaster so that you can enjoy another fabulous weekend of quality rugby.
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