In the world of rugby today, the game of seven is never far from the lips of supporters, players and coaches. 2009 is a massive year for the modified form of the game of rugby, with the decision being taken on the sport’s entry into the 2016 Olympics by the IOC in October. Given the timing, one of the oldest and most famous seven-a-side events that takes place in August takes on special significance.
the Middlesex Sevens started 14 years after rugby’s last appearance at the Olympics in 1926 and was traditionally held in May at the end of the rugby season before being moved to its new date of mid-August in 2001. Bar the 4 years between 2005-2008 the tournament has always been an invitation-only tournament attracting teams from all over the world and through the codes of rugby.
The best teams in the English league have always played an important role and in their current form they represent 12 of the 16 participants in the tournament. They didn’t necessarily dominate as some might expect, with the tournament having been won over the years by teams such as St Mary’s Hospital (now Imperial Medics), Loughborough College, the Metropolitan Police, the Warriors Wigan, barbarians, penguins, Bradford. Bulls and the British Army. Of all the best teams in today’s English game, the little more than the A316 at the Stoop’s Harlequins have won the event most often, scoring 14 wins and they will be back to defend their title this year. .
Tournament organizers recently announced 2 of the invitation sides that will take their place alongside the Premiership giants. The first of these will be the side that many spectators who pack Twickenham for the day will be used to seeing. The British Army won the event in 2001 and 2004 and after losing Howard Graham and his team from South Sea Island last year, the Soldiers will seek to reclaim the trophy by taking a number of renowned scalps underway. of road.
The military plays in tournaments all over the world and recently returned home after an unsuccessful adventure at Roma Seven. That being said, the Army is a team that is feared in the world-seven and is set to compete for the overall title in August.
The second of the announced invitational teams is the one that is sure to bring a large number through the headquarters doors. The Kenyan seven-a-side team have become a real force on the world stage over the past two years, beating England, South Africa, New Zealand and at this year’s World Cup in Dubai, in Fiji.
With the players and their fans loving the game, they became everyone else’s second team, whether it was through their exciting brand of rugby sevens or their dancing on the Kayumbeta after tournaments, the call of ‘ Let go Kenya, let go ” can be heard wherever they play. An invitation to this year’s Middlesex Sevens has been issued to the Kenyan Rugby Union which recognizes its place in the elite of rugby as well as its draw for spectators.
Kenya coach Benjamin Ayimba will surely use the tournament to watch the players before the IRB season starts again in Dubai next December. When not playing in international competition, the Kenyan team take the title of “ Shujaa ” which means that sometimes some players become Kenyans for the day, like Waisale Serevi who played for Shujaa in Nairobi in 2005. to the delight of local fans.
The addition of 2 such terrific teams to what is already a tournament filled with talent can only help the occasion, as both RFU and Premier Rugby aim to present the club seven-a-side game. If another rugby festival with Thousands of fans racing Twickenham takes place as it did in May for the IRB London Sevens, the IOC will once again have to take note.
Seven-a-side games have come in leaps and bounds in recent years, and that’s why gambling is part of the conversation for the Olympics. To see a central tournament that has lasted for 75 years, embracing both the new and the old, the message this sends to decision-makers in Switzerland is a message that can only be considered positive.