Sevens Rugby looks set to reach a new audience with its inclusion in the Rio2016 Olympic Games. Continue reading
In the second article in our Sevens Series to mark the sport joining the Olympic Games, Coach Mike Friday and Captain Madison Hughes talk about their ‘day jobs’ on the rugby sevens circuit. Continue reading
With Rugby Sevens set to make its Olympic debut in August 2016, the LineoutCoach.com team sat down with the USA Head Coach Mike Friday and Captain Madison Hughes Continue reading
In Olympic qualification year, the USA sevens team continue to show great progress with a top four finish at this year’s Las Vegas stop on the HSBC World Sevens Series. Continue reading
USA Rugby make a strong showing in the Men’s Sevens Bowl final.
An electric Kenyan side stormed back in the second half of the Hong Kong Sevens Bowl Final to edge the USA Rugby out 12-14. A 28-14 win over Scotland in the Bowl Semifinal earlier in the day gave the USA Rugby Eagles momentum that they carried into the final, but couldn’t finish Kenya off.
The first half saw USA Rugby work extremely hard on defense, holding Kenyan ball-carriers up in contact and counter rucking well.
Rookie Rocco Mauer got over for the Eagles first after gathering a slick flick pass from his captain, Shalom Suniula, and burning down the touch line for 60 meters.
Mauer and Suniula played a key role in the next USA score stepping and bunching up Kenyan defenders on the right side of the field and then stretching them out left. Colin Hawley kept good width and depth and strolled in untouched, but worked to score under the posts.
Up 12-0 at the half, the USA Rugby Eagles were simply out played in the second period.
It began when Humphrey Kayange splintered the USA Rugby defense with an excellent angled run. Suniula nearly cut him off before he got to the try line, but the tall Kenyan stretched out and scored his team’s first points of the game.
Kenya pinched the ball from the Eagles to start their second scoring move. Kenyan and American bodies were piling up in the ruck and a quick pass released Willy Ambaka Ndayara for a try. With the successful conversion the Kenyans took a 14-12 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Late in the game the USA Rugby team worked their way deep into the Kenyan half and made an aggressive call to quick tap when the Kenyans were penalized 15 meters in front of their own posts. The Eagles backed themselves to score and button the game up, but couldn’t breach the defense. Kenya got a turnover eventually and kicked the ball a mile into the east stands to end the game.
Despite the loss, the USA Rugby team showed improvement over the course of the three day IRB Sevens tournament.
The Bowl Semifinal win against Scotland showed a glimpse of the type of rugby the Eagles aim to play; entrepreneurial and instinctive, featuring a high work rate on and off the ball.
“We’re working hard to get the culture right on the field,” said USA Rugby Head Coach, Alex Magleby of his team’s improvement. “It’s a work in progress, but we now have a good foundation to work from.”
The 2012 Hong Kong Sevens was historic for the Eagles for two reasons. First, 22 year-old Zack Test broke the all-time record for USA tries on the IRB Sevens Series, tallying 48 scores in his young career. Second, the Scotland win was Magleby’s first as head coach after taking over for Al Caravelli earlier this month following the performance in Vegas 7s.
The USA Rugby plays next weekend in the Tokyo Sevens from March 31-April 1.
USA Rugby Hong Kong Sevens results
Hong Kong Sevens Bowl Final
USA Rugby 12
Tries: Mauer, Hawley
Tries: Kayange, Ndayara
Hong Kong Sevens Bowl Semifinal
USA Rugby 28
Tries: Hawley, Palefau, Test, Punimata
Cons: Suniula (4)
Tries: Cairns, Fleming
Cons: Gregor (2)
Press release from USA Rugby
Gavin Hickie, The LineoutCoach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com
Rugby Sevens – fast and furious and the future of rugby?
Famed for the carnival atmosphere and exciting showcase, the new look HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off on Australia’s Gold Coast this weekend. Rugby Sevens is becoming hugely popular due to it’s simplicity and fast paced action. Rugby is reinstated into the Olympics in it’s rugby sevens form from 2016. The opportunity to represent your country in the Olympics and compete for a gold medal is proving to be a strong catalyst for sevens. The last time rugby featured as an Olympic event was in Paris 1924. The current rugby gold medalists – the United States.
There are nine global destinations on the HSBC World Series with Japan as the latest addition. Rugby is proving popular in Asia, with an 18% rise in participation numbers since 2007. The I.R.B. strategically invest over $3m annually into the development and growth of rugby within Asia. The powers that be must see considerable potential for return on their investment which culminates in Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Further evidence of the explosive growth of rugby sevens can be seen in the United States. In 2009, the Sevens World Series, U.S. leg, was held in San Diego. The revenue generated from staging the event, was $630,000. A year later and a new venue in Las Vegas, the event generated in excess of $17m. Without question, there is a healthy appetite for rugby sevens.
Working alongside broadcasters NBC, USA Sevens has developed a televised collegiate rugby sevens championship (C.R.C.). The model is based on brand recognition as opposed to seedings. This means that the best teams do not necessarily receive an invitation for the rugby sevens tournament, but the teams who NBC and USA Sevens decide have the strongest collegiate brands and can attract fans, are invited to the Championship. Not a perfect system but certainly one that could prove very effective in raising the awareness of the sport. As a foreigner in the U.S., it is hard not to notice the incredibly strong connection people share with their respective colleges. Alumni loyalty is very apparent and the branding of sevens rugby through well known U.S. colleges makes a lot of sense.
United States Olympic Committee is expected to announce it’s funding towards rugby sevens this week. It is widely expected that this is the first step towards professional rugby contracts in America. Athletes will be based at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, CA. The U.S.A. boasts a very proud and successful Olympic history in many events. I fully expect that by 2016, the Americans will be aiming for gold in rugby sevens.
More signs of growth in sevens rugby is reflected in the new sponsorship deal with HSBC. Previously, the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) have been very visible in the world of golf and will undoubtedly continue to do so. However, the attraction of sponsoring rugby as an Olympic sport paved the way for a multi million dollar, 5 year deal between HSBC and the I.R.B.
With one eye on the 2016 Olympics, the Welsh Rugby Union has set a precedent by signing 12 core rugby sevens players. This is the first time that the WRU has contracted core players to play specific tournaments throughout the year. By doing this the WRU hope to develop some consistency within their rugby sevens system.
Rugby sevens is undergoing huge growth and will continue to do so. Developing rugby nations such as the U.S. utilize a non contact, fast paced version of rugby called Flag Rugby. Known as Tag Rugby in Ireland & the U.K., flag rugby is proving to be the perfect way to introduce new comers to the world of rugby. Flag rugby seems to be the natural stepping stone to sevens rugby. There is some concern that rugby sevens and 15s rugby will become two separate entities and this may well prove the case.
One thing is for sure, Rugby Sevens is going to get a lot bigger….
Gavin Hickie, The LineoutCoach, is a former Ireland 7s, Leinster and Leciester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com