The v2 Forum
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

3 posters

Go down

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby Empty Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

Post by Rugby Fan Sun 4 Dec 2022 - 3:11

For most rugby supporters, Sevens has little or no connection with the main XV code. Indeed, it has become more specialized, and is virtually a separate sport. It's understandable why the average fan has no real interest in Sevens

However, in recent years, teams doing well in Sevens, are mostly the same as those doing well in XVs. There isn't a direct one-to-one mapping. USA and Kenya are much better in Sevens than XVs, while the opposite is true for Italy and Georgia. There probably isn't any direct, identifiable causal link either but it does suggest some unions have more joined-up thinking about how to create a better environment for rugby overall. As a result, Sevens has proved to be an indicator of the general ability of a union to get its act together in XVs.

For instance, Fiji have been by far the most successful Pacific Island Sevens team, and their XVs side presented the most consistent challenge to top tier sides, compared with Samoa and Tonga. Now that the Samoan team appears to have rediscovered its Sevens mojo, it will be interesting to see if this is reflected in XVs too.

The clearest example of the link between Sevens and XVs is in the performance of Ireland, France and Argentina. Over the same period Ireland and France moved to the top of the World Rankings, their Sevens sides have become title contenders. In Ireland's case, this was from a standing start, as they weren't even on the main circuit, when the IRFU decided to put resources towards the code.

Argentina came close to taking the overall Sevens title last year. Their XVs side may be down in 8th place but they have shown they can beat higher ranked sides like England and New Zealand even when playing away from home.

Perhaps, then, we shouldn't be surprised that a misfiring Great Britain team is comprised of three sides who are also misfiring in the longer code. The lack of focus in the Sevens efforts of England, Wales and Scotland should perhaps have been a warning sign that those three unions lack focus overall.

It has always been striking that the Red Roses are rightly celebrated in XVs, and yet England have never put together a successful womens sevens team. This is always explained away by the competing demands of the English club and XVs schedules. Nevertheless, the inconvenient fact remains that England are the only top womens side unable to put together a decent challenge in the shorter code.

It's not as if England, Wales and Scotland are devoid of Sevens nous. England and Wales have both won the Rugby Sevens World Cup. Fiji first won an Olympic gold medal with an English coach, then won a second with a Welsh coach. New Zealand won a Rugby Sevens World Cup, HSBC Sevens Series title, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold with a Scottish coach.

For all the financial problems at the RFU, WRU and SRU, they are no worse than those faced by Australia, who won the Mens Sevens Series last year, and took Mens gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in England.

There's a genuine debate to be had about what, if any, role Sevens should play in the future of rugby. For some, it's an important tool in spreading the game globally. Others might contend it's a blind alley, misallocating resources which could be better used elsewhere. Whatever the merits of those positions, Sevens does exist, and it is evident that England, Scotland and Wales all mismanaged their programmes for over 10 years. The importance for supporters who don't care for Sevens but greatly value the longer code, is that muddled-thinking in one area begets muddled thinking elsewhere.

Rugby Fan
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 7530
Join date : 2012-09-14

Back to top Go down

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby Empty Re: Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

Post by doctor_grey Sun 4 Dec 2022 - 20:03

Great thoughts.  It's interesting you make the point that 7s and Rugby are almost different sports.  To me, they as separate from each other as League from Union.  But are managed in most countries by Union. But the question of whether 7s is a predictor or bellweather of success in XVs, I'm not sure.  

Sevens is certainly easier to establish and teach than XVs so the perfect version (type, sport) of Rugby to use to help build awareness of Rugby in general.  In America it's clearly used here as both a funnel towards XVs as well as something unique in its own right.  And has been very helpful moving the XVs programs along.

Regarding the status and synergies between Rugby and 7s in our green and verdant homeland, it rather seems to me the current performance levels of the UK 7s is as much a reflection of either poor current management or a 10 year bender at the RFU.  Could also be that there are a lot of groups looking for RFU leadership and funding and that might be a bit lacking.

doctor_grey

Posts : 11811
Join date : 2011-04-30

Rugby Fan likes this post

Back to top Go down

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby Empty Re: Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

Post by Irish Londoner Mon 5 Dec 2022 - 9:10

Rugby Fan wrote:For most rugby supporters, Sevens has little or no connection with the main XV code. Indeed, it has become more specialized, and is virtually a separate sport. It's understandable why the average fan has no real interest in Sevens

What may be holding Sevens back is that it's not perceived as a serious sport by the spectators never mind some of the unions - many of the World Sevens weekends, most notably Hong Kong and Twickenham but other ones as well are basically massive piss ups and corporate jollies whilst some people run about on the pitch. Complaints about fan behaviour in Twickenham are worse for the sevens weekend that any other match - even Army V Navy or the Oxbridge matches.

I wonder if the RFU see it as handy boost to the coffers every year but as you say see it as a blind alley in terms of growing the wider sport of XVs rugby - there's very little for anyone who's not built like a racing snake in sevens, conversely for non-rugby nations like the USA or Kenya it's a comparatively quick and cheap way to put a side on the world stage.



Irish Londoner

Posts : 1612
Join date : 2011-07-10
Age : 62
Location : Wakefield

Rugby Fan likes this post

Back to top Go down

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby Empty Re: Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

Post by Rugby Fan Mon 5 Dec 2022 - 9:26

doctor_grey wrote:Great thoughts.  It's interesting you make the point that 7s and Rugby are almost different sports.  To me, they as separate from each other as League from Union.  But are managed in most countries by Union.   But the question of whether 7s is a predictor or bellweather of success in XVs, I'm not sure.  

Sevens is certainly easier to establish and teach than XVs so the perfect version (type, sport) of Rugby to use to help build awareness of Rugby in general.  In America it's clearly used here as both a funnel towards XVs as well as something unique in its own right.  And has been very helpful moving the XVs programs along.  

Regarding the status and synergies between Rugby and 7s in our green and verdant homeland, it rather seems to me the current performance levels of the UK 7s is as much a reflection of either poor current management or a 10 year bender at the RFU.  Could also be that there are a lot of groups looking for RFU leadership and funding and that might be a bit lacking.

Yes, simply targeting an improvement in Sevens doesn't magically translate to an improvement in XVs performance. As you say, it's more an indicator of the management vision, and abillity, of a national union. Sevens isn't a natural fit with the longer code so, to make it work, you have to have a good sense of how to manage your players and coaches as a whole.

English rugby currently seems to consist of a series of silos - National squad, Age Group squads, Sevens, Premiership, Championship, University Rugby, School rugby -  rather than a connected ecosystem. Lessons learned in one area never get absorbed elsewhere. Getting it all working together is hard but it often seems no-one even tries. (It's less clear why Scotand, and especially Wales, let their sevens progammes wither on the vine).

As for Sevens as a whole, it sometimes seems that campaigning to become an Olympic sport was a blunder by World Rugby. The original vision was to have Sevens teams composed of leading XVs exponents, and give them a global stage on which to shine. The first real effort to get Sevens into the Games was back in 2005, when there were stronger links between the two codes. Even as late as the first tournament in Rio in 2016, World Rugby was still trying to push for top stars to make themselves available. The Olympic link is also the only reason to have a clunky GB Sevens set-up.

Realistically, there are only a handful of Fijians who seem to be able to switch between, and excel in both codes without needing a long bedding-in period.

However, Sevens doesn't have the same concussion risk as XVs, so is easier to promote. World Rugby views it as a good way to attract people to the sport that XVs routinely misses. Currently, though, we are between two stools. Most rugby pundits across the spectrum of newspapers, magazines, TV, podcasts and Youtube, have no clue about Sevens, and hardly ever talk about it. If World Rugby wants to promote the code, yet still can't get people like that onside, then it may be a lost cause.

Rugby Fan
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 7530
Join date : 2012-09-14

Back to top Go down

Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby Empty Re: Sevens is the canary in the coal mine for British rugby

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum