7 reasons to look forward to Rugby 7s at the Rio Olympics 2016by Leana Kell
The Rio Olympics 2016 will be the first Games to feature Rugby 7s, a game that is increasing in popularity every year.
Featuring 12 men's teams and 12 women's teams, the tournament is set to be one of the highlights of the Olympic Games.
Accepted back into the Olympic movement in 2009, Centurion takes a look at seven reasons why Rugby 7s will prove to be a huge asset to this year's Olympic Games.
1. The game keeps growing
Rugby 7s is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and across the globe. It is a much faster paced game than traditional rugby, which helps to engage both players and audiences and produce exciting results. More and more people are now flooding to the various Rugby 7s events, with record breaking crowds of more than 113,000 attending the London Sevens in 2015.
2. Easy to understand
Rugby 7s is easy to understand - there are seven players in each team and seven-minute halves. Aside from this, the rules are the same as traditional rugby, but there are no forward passes allowed, no blocking and you have to touch the ball down when you score. The faster you are as a player, the better your chances of scoring.
3. An exciting watch
Due to the reduced number of rugby players in the team, there's more scope for players to get creative and produce some exciting tackles. With seven-minute halves as opposed to 40 minute halves, spectators will never become bored. The game is quick with a team's top try count often exceeding 100 - blink and you could miss some amazing rugby!
4. Four days of play
Unlike other Sevens one day events around the world, or the flagship Official HSBC Sevens World Series, which takes place over a two day weekend, the Rio 2016 competition will take place over four days, meaning spectators have four different chances to watch the tournament, and four different chances to dress up in fancy dress if they wish to!
5. Two GB sides to support
The men's and women's Rugby 7s teams will have equal coverage at the Rio 2016 Olympics, so there will be two Team GB sides to cheer on. This is great news for the women's teams who often lack the exposure given to the men. It is hoped that the support for the women's team will have the same effect as the Team GB women’s football experienced at the London Olympics 2012 which led to their ultimate triumph against Brazil at Wembley.
6. An established sport
In the past few years, Sevens has progressed in leaps and bounds, with many of the top Sevens players now recruited on central contracts as opposed to being borrowed from clubs. The advantage to this is that players are no longer thrown together days before a tournament, but have had the chance to get used to their team and develop a team spirit and an understanding of players.
7. We could win
On current form, there is no reason why team GB couldn't win the tournament at the Rio Olympics, or at least walk away with a medal! New Zealand are currently the obvious favourites, having already achieved ten World Series wins and four gold medals in the four Commonwealth Games since Sevens was included, but we think Team GB remain strong contenders. With sides such as Wales who won the 2009 Sevens World Cup, and Scotland as contenders, the future looks very positive.