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Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics?

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Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics?

Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics? Vote_lcap52%Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics? Vote_rcap 52% 
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Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics? Vote_lcap48%Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics? Vote_rcap 48% 
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Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics? Empty Should top rugby players play rugby sevens at the Olympics?

Post by sportform Tue 02 Apr 2013, 2:36 am

I have seen a few articles stating that top New Zealand players would be keen to play in the sevens tournament at the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

The NZRU have also stated that any players wishing to play in the Olympics would have to give up the 15 player version of the game for that year.

So do you think the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, David Pocock and Bryan Habana will be turning up in Rio?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/sevens/8262203/Making-the-Sevens-switch-no-easy-matter
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Post by George Carlin Tue 02 Apr 2013, 6:43 am

It's a very good question Sportsville but don't be surprised if it generates very few responses on these boards. I have run a couple of 7s threads about Britain's team for the Olympics and they have died on their arse.

I think that the NZRU are smart because whilst a lot of 7s players have gone on to great things in the 15s game (Glasgow's Niko Matawalu being a good recent example), it doesn't translate so well the other way round. 7s is really specialist and 15 a side players who are just used to covering their zones and doing their jobs can be badly out of their depth.

I think that if they're smart, the Olympic teams should focus solely on players who are 7s guys and girls full time.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Tue 02 Apr 2013, 7:31 am

I think it should be the lads who have been regulalry playing on the 7s circuit, seems fair.

I would be mighty peeved if I had been on the 7s circuit then they parachuted lets say North or the like in for the Olympics.
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Post by LondonTiger Tue 02 Apr 2013, 7:41 am

I am not a fan of trying to shoehorn XVs players into the 7s.

Whilst the basic skills of 7s are the same, it is perhaps as different from XVs as RL is. It could take quite some time for even the best players to acclimatise - time which they may not have. After all with RWC 2015 not that far ahead of Rio2016 there would be 8 or 9 months for players to adapt - if they were willing to miss HEC/6Ns/SXV/4Ns and the probably pay cut that came with it.

Even if they were willing, I would rather the chance be given to the guys who trawl the 7s circuit. XVs players have enough "glory days" as it is.

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Post by maestegmafia Tue 02 Apr 2013, 8:03 am

I think like with the soccer they will try to encourage a few high profile names into the olympic squad.

I hope so too, Rugby fans the world out won't know who players like Ollie Phillips, Colin Shaw or Nathan Hirayama are, they will want to see a few big names.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:04 am

Unless they are willing to forego a lot of salary, and all XV a side rugby for a year, putting these high profile players in the 7s will weaken the tournament.

Rugby fans will see the best in 2015 at the RWC. The Olympics will be watched by >5bn people. Perhaps 99% of these would not recognise Richie McCaw.

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Post by thebluesmancometh Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:24 am

It's a strange game to play, if NZ decide they are good with their squad for the olympics theres no reason other nations won't risk trying to shoehorn in a few of their stars in an attempt to be competitive!

The key here though is the 12 months prior, if big names struggle, struggle and struggle some more on the circuit then they might as well not turn up in Rio.

On the other hand will teams neglect 7's specialists for a season in an attempt to shoehorn in star names? And if so what happens to the quality of the circuit for that year? Where do the 7's specialists go? and probably most importantly what happens the season after the olympics finish, does everyone basically start with fresh squads when they lose all their playing staff?

Maybe we could have an 'A' tournament for the season leading up, where stars who struggle, and 7's specialists who get shut out still have somewhere to play regularly, and the squads are not decimated the season after? With all the strides 7's has made over the years the game doesn't want to take a step back to having no household names, young and inexperienced squads, and disillusion the fans!

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:29 am

The bigger issue for the GB & NI team would be to actually play tournaments before the Olympics. This may be tricky as the World series sees the home nations countries enter individually.


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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:30 am

The Olympics will be just an extension of the World series, so those players are the ones who stand the best chance of success.

Countries with no current sevens team will probably scratch a side together for the tournament. Ireland for example may send a team with guys who have never played 7s at a high level before - I really hope they don't.

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Post by pete (buachaill on eirne) Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:43 am

I think it would be deadly if I am honest. I can't imagine Ireland would be very good but it would be a great advertisement for the game if the entire world audience (Olympics gets that) saw Rugby being played by the best possible players (sometimes they will be players who do not play Union)

I think it is a great stepping stone for teams like Kenya etc and the skill set is hugely valuable to young players. When I am coaching I often get the kids to play Sevens as they can learn so much from it:

-Rucking efficiency
-Range in passing
-Beating a man 1 on 1
-Use of space

It can be hugely valuable.

Irish Sevens Team:

Peter O'Mahony
Jamie Heaslip
Ian Henderson
Paul Marshall
Ian Madigan
Simon Zebo
Craig Gilroy

Mike McCarthy-Cian Healy-Chris Henry-Kieran Marmion-Andrew Conway

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Post by beshocked Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:44 am

Yes. If the top player wants to take the gamble then they should try. Ultimately you want to play your best potential team surely?

bedfordwelsh you are right it might be unfair but if North is better than professional 7s players at their own game then they need to work a bit harder!

Of course I would want to bolster the British team if it would improve chances. Would it work though?


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Post by LondonTiger Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:51 am

Beshocked,

I woudl love to see the strongest 7s squad possible. I just think that parachuting players in at the last minute would not work. So that does mean that players would have to stop playing XVs as soon as the RWC finished and only play 7s. This would mean missing an entire domestic season and a full 6Ns. It would mean a significant reduction in salary and it would be a risk for the player.

Wingers who have been on the 7s circuit would adapt quickest - Cuthbert, Varndell & Wade.

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:52 am

Pete - aside from the fact that Ireland would be useless, forcing NI players to declare for the ROI would have a divisive effect on the game at grassroots level - don't think it's worth the risk.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:56 am

The Great Aukster wrote:Pete - aside from the fact that Ireland would be useless, forcing NI players to declare for the ROI would have a divisive effect on the game at grassroots level - don't think it's worth the risk.

NI sporsmen have the option of representing GB&NI or Ireland in Olympics, and each chooses according to their own preference.

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Post by beshocked Tue 02 Apr 2013, 10:04 am

LondonTiger wrote:Beshocked,

I woudl love to see the strongest 7s squad possible. I just think that parachuting players in at the last minute would not work. So that does mean that players would have to stop playing XVs as soon as the RWC finished and only play 7s. This would mean missing an entire domestic season and a full 6Ns. It would mean a significant reduction in salary and it would be a risk for the player.

Wingers who have been on the 7s circuit would adapt quickest - Cuthbert, Varndell & Wade.

I agree parachuting in players could be detrimental but if a player wants to do as you suggest after the RWC then why not? Ultimately it's up to the player surely? Of course it would be a big risk but then again it could make a huge difference.

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 02 Apr 2013, 10:25 am

LondonTiger wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:Pete - aside from the fact that Ireland would be useless, forcing NI players to declare for the ROI would have a divisive effect on the game at grassroots level - don't think it's worth the risk.

NI sporsmen have the option of representing GB&NI or Ireland in Olympics, and each chooses according to their own preference.

LT - In NI we have first-hand experience of how divisive it is for soccer players to declare for NI or the ROI - I would hate for that situation to be introduced into rugby because of the Olympics.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Tue 02 Apr 2013, 8:40 pm

I think we're tricking you. Come the Olympics, Liam Messam, Julian Savea and others who have played sevens before will be starting.

Besides if the hangover is bad after winning a World Cup, imagine what it'll be like after successive World Cups. Whistle

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Post by SecretFly Tue 02 Apr 2013, 9:49 pm

Why should the top (XV) players get to take the honour away from regular Sevens players? To hell with that. The regular Sevens guys should have the privilege.


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Post by Guest Tue 02 Apr 2013, 10:01 pm

Regular 7s players are the stars. It's a different game, literally. It would be like parachuting Wayne Rooney into a beach football tournament.

Leave it to the 7s pros. Possibly some of the 15s guys who have been on the 7s circuit IF they're still good enough, but I'd wager that the 7s guys will be the better 7s players than the 15s players. Horses for courses.

Adam Jones is the exception obviously. He'd be amaaaaaaazing. Wink

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Post by aucklandlaurie Wed 03 Apr 2013, 7:00 pm

kiakahaaotearoa wrote:I think we're tricking you. Come the Olympics, Liam Messam, Julian Savea and others who have played sevens before will be starting.

Besides if the hangover is bad after winning a World Cup, imagine what it'll be like after successive World Cups. Whistle


Hosea Gear?

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Post by ChequeredJersey Wed 03 Apr 2013, 7:04 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Unless they are willing to forego a lot of salary, and all XV a side rugby for a year, putting these high profile players in the 7s will weaken the tournament.

Rugby fans will see the best in 2015 at the RWC. The Olympics will be watched by >5bn people. Perhaps 99% of these would not recognise Richie McCaw.

They might be willing to do that though, for an Olympic Gold Medal. I agree that players should play at least a full 7s season to be considered but I think there will be a draw for players especially if their contract with a Club finishes at the end of the 14-15 Season- Play with club till then, go to World Cup, switch to 7s for 9 months, maybe, chance of a medal, re-evaluate. SBW, for one, wouldn't surprise me if he aimed for the Olympics
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Post by mikey_philVIII Wed 03 Apr 2013, 8:18 pm

aucklandlaurie wrote:
kiakahaaotearoa wrote:I think we're tricking you. Come the Olympics, Liam Messam, Julian Savea and others who have played sevens before will be starting.

Besides if the hangover is bad after winning a World Cup, imagine what it'll be like after successive World Cups. Whistle


Hosea Gear?

I was about to mention Hosea, NZ would have quite the team if those 3 come back in.

Some Sevens players aren't well known. So I guess bringing in some top internationals could be a marquee thing as well as strengthening team GB. Alex Cuthbert for example.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 03 Apr 2013, 10:12 pm

I think there is enough evidence 7's players are developing in different ways from 15's players. This suggests that, without a great deal of specialist training and conditioning, putting players like Cuthbert in would weaken rather than strengthen the team.

I believe it was generally a lot different 20 odd years ago when England won that first 7's world cup, I think almost all of that team went on to have great careers in 15's

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:38 am

lostinwales wrote:I think there is enough evidence 7's players are developing in different ways from 15's players. This suggests that, without a great deal of specialist training and conditioning, putting players like Cuthbert in would weaken rather than strengthen the team.

I believe it was generally a lot different 20 odd years ago when England won that first 7's world cup, I think almost all of that team went on to have great careers in 15's

Gordon Tietjens has over the past few years been allowed to select a handful of Super XV players for special tournaments (primarily the (now defunct) 7s world cup and the Commonwealth games). More recently he's struggled to persuade players to opt for the switch, becase the players knew how much the training would impact their 15s conditioning - players in 7s are generally up to 10 kg lighter than they are in 15s trim, and the emphasis is on speed & recovery (playing up to seven 15 minute matches over 2 days vs 1 match of 80 mins) rather than power & endurance.

Top 15's players who opt to switch are probably going to have to commit a full year to 7s - 9 months of conditioning and playing tournaments learning the differences, and then 3 months post-Olympics rebuilding muscle mass for 15s.
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Post by Taylorman Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:47 am

Well said Pete. And with the huge amount of resources going into some sides, particularly those who don't rank or even play 15's at a high level, swapping jerseys a couple of months out aint gonna cut it.

Consuming the ins and outs of 7's for a full year is a minimum to fully absorb the demands of the game, face the various scenarios they could face in the two short days in Rio, learn to close out games (a problem theyre having lately).

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Post by Biltong Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:49 am

Which countries do you guys think will put more into seven's in the build up to the Olympics?

I don't think SA will change anything, they will just keep doing what they are doing now.
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Post by Taylorman Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:04 am

I'd say China and Spain have already targeted funding in a big way- Gregan hinted at that in Hong Kong. By targeting as well as channeling many of their numbers intot he game, theyre already looking out for specialists from the top sevens countries- coaches etc.

China is the new Russia in terms of the sporting Superpower so will stop at nothing and Spain are just so successful at both team and individual sports at the moment and the sport would suit them- and they are already providing upsets in the current 7's tour matches.


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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:05 am

Biltong wrote:Which countries do you guys think will put more into seven's in the build up to the Olympics?

I don't think SA will change anything, they will just keep doing what they are doing now.

NZ will probably look at encouraging a couple of ex-7s players to switch back from XVs. There's also been talk that one or 2 league players may look to switch to 7s to try for the Olympic squad (SBW possibly, and also NZ Warriors' halfback Shaun Johnson). Otherwise I doubt much will change unless NZ dips down the 7s rankings in 2014/15)
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Post by Taylorman Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:08 am

Benji Marshall might do well at sevens as well. Daggs a must surely...

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Post by lostinwales Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:25 am

Surprised the USA isnt pushing harder - unless they are and I havnt noticed yet.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:27 am

lostinwales wrote:Surprised the USA isnt pushing harder - unless they are and I havnt noticed yet.

They've picked up a few scalps this season on occasion - from memory one tournament they beat both NZ and England in pool play
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Post by aitchw Thu 04 Apr 2013, 12:25 pm

I've voted 'No'. All the major nations have perfectly good 7s squads and there is no need for 15s players to get involved. I like the emphasis on youth the Olympics wendyball set up follows and typically 7s is a young person's game.

We are the only group of nations that have a problem, needing to switch from individual to joint national representation. This is likely to lead to a relatively weaker unit with minimal opportunity to gel and develop prior to the Games. I'm not overly concerned about that, it's just the way it is and the spread of the game is more important than possible underpeformance of our team.

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Post by Taylorman Fri 05 Apr 2013, 4:32 am

aitchw wrote:I've voted 'No'. All the major nations have perfectly good 7s squads and there is no need for 15s players to get involved. I like the emphasis on youth the Olympics wendyball set up follows and typically 7s is a young person's game.

We are the only group of nations that have a problem, needing to switch from individual to joint national representation. This is likely to lead to a relatively weaker unit with minimal opportunity to gel and develop prior to the Games. I'm not overly concerned about that, it's just the way it is and the spread of the game is more important than possible underpeformance of our team.

Not a bad idea going youth but the wendyball u23's was more a watering down of the sport that already holds an elite status internationally. Sevens doesnt need watering down, it needs to showcase its sport at its best, ideally putting it in direct competition with its 15 a side big brother as its long term goal. To stand on its own as an international sport. Its going that way now with entities such as Kenya developing their sevens as a priority. If it has to borrow on big brother to achieve the status it needs I'm all for it.

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