By Andy Symmonds
A Day at the Sevens
You may have noticed that the Amsterdam Sevens organisers offered a discount on tickets to members of the British Society for the tournament in May. It’s not clear if this was the trigger, but several members were spotted enjoying the occasion and the rugby. This review is based upon the final day of the event so it misses the core of the ladies contest and the qualifying for Rio excitement, but it does mean that the report can include some glorious weather.
To recap, the event is an annual competition featuring teams from around the world. The format is Sevens, which means rugby played on a full size pitch with only seven players in each side. This, as you can imagine, can mean a lot of running around and does require a high level of fitness to be able to compete effectively. The tournament is a fixture on the World Rugby Sevens calendar for ladies rugby, giving it equivalent status to the Middlesex, Dubai or Hong Kong Sevens events for male rugby. This year was also given extra significance as teams could qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The ladies rugby provided some fascinating results. From the Olympic perspective, Canada and Australia both managed to qualify for Rio on the first day and team GB qualified on day two. New Zealand claimed the Women’s Seven Series for the third year in a row but took a record beating at the hands of the USA team (34-5 and arguably the shock of the tournament).
The men’s rugby demonstrated the usual blend of swift running, some great passing and off loading and some wonderful individual skills. The male contingent also provided the three streakers that decided to grace the women’s game between Canada and Ireland. Sadly the brave three gents that streaked were more amply padded than anyone previously seen on the pitch and the players looked suitably unimpressed.
British Society members were there every day of this years’ event, but we also added in some of the noise as Ian Cherington, our Chairman, was the official commentator for all three days. Ian kept the crowd informed and motivated throughout the tournament and even encouraged the Mexican wave in quieter moments. Nick, our intrepid food taster and restaurant tester, was also seen enjoying the fun, although we have no comments on the catering standards yet.
The British Society also had younger members attending the tournament, so we would like to wrap up the report of the 2015 Amsterdam Sevens with some comments from Luc Thomas, aged 12: “Time flew. It was a fun and friendly atmosphere. I want to go again next year. I liked the men’s games more than the women’s games. Best women’s game was the final between Fiji and China.” This was Luc’s introduction to live rugby and he came away very enthused by the Sevens. It is a cracking day out and we will alert you of the dates for the 2016 tournament when they become available.