“Is British r u g b y mi s s i n g the party?”
ERE IS a question for everyone in rugby in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Are we all missing a party, maybe the best party ever thrown in sport?
Are we in the home nations either immune to sevens or unprepared to share in its glories? And despite the amazing profile given by the arrival of sevens as an Olympic sport in the heady days of Rio 2016, do we really care about winning Olympic medals?
HWhen the dust settled on the Rio Games, the sevens fan base increased by more than 30m. No, I’m not quite sure what that statistic means either, but the research was done by a noted company called Nielsen. World Rugby’s website also points out the biggest uplifts came in places like USA, China, India and Brazil.
Sevens has become a rocket. Fiji’s gold medal triumph was one of the greatest days rugby has ever had. To see those dextrous, magnificent athletes, almost all from impoverished backgrounds in an impoverished nation, patronised and pilfered by bigger rugby countries for years, win the men’s final was sensational.
Fiji and sevens must have entranced young men and women all over the world, especially those with some athleticism about them. In that sense, the Australia team that won gold in the women’s event may have been even more influential. To a large extent, the Aussies did not come from rugby backgrounds, they