- Olympic spotlight boosts sevens uptake
- New programme follows specialist coaching
Sevens rugby will be an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and as part of the Rugby Football Union’s drive to make the various disciplines of rugby union available to a wider audience, the game is being increasingly promoted across clubs, colleges and schools within the RFU.
Cumbria has joined the sevens movement with a district Under 15 schools programme that will be running through April and May following the County Under 15 Sevens tournament on March 21.
Expert coaching in the skills and strategies of sevens will be available at Kendal RFC on April 10 when Newcastle Falcons Academy Manager Mark Laycock runs a session and following that introduction, the programme of regional competitions starts on April 15 with further sessions on April 22 and 29.
Six District sides representing Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakes will compete in the programme in two sections, which will be run on a World Cup Sevens format, with teams picking up points and winning single events leading to an overall winner.
Events being staged on May 7, 14 and 21, will be on the borders of Allerdale/Copeland, Carlisle/Eden and South Lakes/Barrow.
“The aim of the competition is to recruit schools players who may have a skills set that suits the abbreviated sevens game, but who may find their way into the 15-a-side game once they have had a taste of rugby via the sevens programme,” said Cumbria’s Rugby Development Officer Liam Nicholls.
“We are also looking to promote variants of the game to a key schools age group, who often make decisions about their sporting future at this time.
“We have 72 players registered in this inaugural competition, but hopefully we can grow it through other age-groups next season. This opening programme has been funded by monies from the English Rugby Football Schools Union and hopefully we will be able to deliver a significant contribution to schools rugby in the county.”
Coaches Simon Mullholland (Kendal RUFC) and Andrew Branthwaite (Egremont RUFC) have indicated their willingness to support the tournament, which underlines how the burgeoning sevens game is appealing to younger members of the coaching fraternity.