‘Unique spirit’ earns Badger sweet suc­cess

Boss Brown praises win­ners of re­gional qual­i­fy­ing event

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By David Bates tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

TEAM Honey Badger sev­ens man­ager Gor­don Brown claims his side’s unique team spirit helped them to tri­umph at a re­cent event, but as they now gear up to take on the best the re­gion has to of­fer, he is des­per­ate to keep the hot streak go­ing.

Team Honey Badger, a sev­ens team at Old Mer­chant Tay­lors’ Rugby Club, won the Mid­dle­sex 7s, which took place at Rich­mond RFC and had been se­lected as one of 32 lo­cal qual­i­fiers to host Eng­land Rugby’s in­au­gu­ral com­mu­nity sev­ens com­pe­ti­tion, the 24/ Sev­ens series.

24/Sev­ens is an ex­cit­ing new com­mu­nity sev­ens series that aims to grow rugby and in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion among men and women in clubs.

Lo­cal qual­i­fier win­ners will progress to re­gional play-offs with the com­pe­ti­tion cul­mi­nat­ing in a show­piece na­tional grand fi­nal event with 24 teams at the end of July, hosted by Eng­land Rugby. And Brown claims that a per­fect mix­ture of dif­fer­ent ages and back­grounds in the Honey Badger team ul­ti­mately paid div­i­dends at the Mid­dle­sex 7s.

“What I re­ally en­joy is team­build­ing and sev­ens is per­fect for that. You get a great spread of peo­ple – we had one guy who stood out at the Mid­dle­sex 7s, Hugo An­thony,” 60-year-old Brown said.

“He was only 17 and he was play­ing with older, more ex­pe­ri­enced guys, but if you gave him the ball in space he was go­ing to score.

“The boys nick­named him Turbo, but rugby wasn’t ac­tu­ally his sport, he is a world kayak­ing cham­pion for his age.

“We started off as play­ers from Old Mer­chant Tay­lors’, but we’re now an open in­vi­ta­tional side and it is our first year as Team Honey Badger – we just picked the name of the mean­est an­i­mal that we could think of.”

Team Honey Badger will now be part of the 24/Sev­ens South East play-off which takes place at Sara­cens’ Al­lianz Park on July 10 with a chance to reach the na­tional grand fi­nal.

And Brown says that while his side will rel­ish the op­por­tu­nity to play on such a big stage and have a great day out, they are cer­tainly not just there to make up the num­bers.

“My­self and the coach, Fran­cois Lom­bard like it be­cause it is a one day event and it is a great so­cial event – wives, girl­friends, fam­ily and friends can all come along and it is a top day out,” Brown said.

“Sev­ens is en­joy­able and it is set for huge growth with its in­clu­sion in the Olympics.

“But we are con­fi­dent and am­bi­tious and we are go­ing to Al­lianz Park hope­ful of qual­i­fy­ing for the na­tional fi­nals”

Eng­land Rugby 24/Sev­ens, a new ex­cit­ing grass­roots sev­ens com­pe­ti­tion for all rugby teams, wel­comes any­one who just wants to pick up a ball and run, for fun or glory.

Visit www.eng­lan­drugby.com/24sev­ens to get in­volved

n TRI­UMPH: Team Honey Badger

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