“Is Bri­tish r u g b y mi s s i n g the party?”

Rugby World - - SCOTLAND -

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

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