Why don't we (Ireland) have a team?
Every team does except us.
Almost certainly this question has been addressed before if you search rugby boards carefully enough. AFAIK it's mostly down to funding and priorities e.g. Wales have 7's team but no 'A' team while Ireland have Irish Wolfhounds (A team) but no 7's team.
and Scotland have both but underfund Glasgow and Endinburgh
I've seen the figure of 1 million mentioned in the press to fund a sevens team.
Williams on the breakdown has suggested that the IRFU are going to wait till the IRB offer 500K to rent the aviva for Dublin Sevens and then field a team.
Personally I think we are moving toward a 7s team with the introduction of provincial 7s tournament and then an interprovincial event between the winning teams that was introduced last year. We will put together a team in a few years time when some sort of base of players have a decent level of 7s experience or somehing.
AFAIK we have to field one for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Big question is - will Ulster players opt for GB team or Irish team? Same issue for golfers i.e.Graeme McDowell/Darren Clarke/Rory McIlroy and possibly Michael Hoey come 2016 as well.
I reckon Ulster players will opt for team Ireland since the IRFU will be running the Irish team and might get upset if players opt to play for a team GB
We don't have to and right now I'd be utterly amazed if we qualified for a 16 team tournament.
When I think of the Olympics I think of individual track and field runners, "amateur" boxers, and swimmers. I don't think of a team sport like sevens. If by putting a sevens team into the Olympics would take any funding from other atheltic events I would be against it.
As you can guess I'm not really too pushed on it in the Irish pro rugby arena.
Thats not a question at all really. The players are under contract to the IRFU who would be putting forward the team.
I dont think we lose much by not being in Sevens. Look at Fiji, a great sevens team but basically phish at 15's.
Even wales who won the Sevens WC in 2009 dont have any of those players on their team.
Edit: As far as i can see Aled Brew is the only player who was in the 15's squad and the 7's
This is an interesting situation for if Olympics teams parallel the IRB World series teams then international 15's players may not be used and those who play may not therefore be contracted to their respective unions but be 7's specialists which would mean Ulster players may still have the option of playing for GB.
the modern sevens game is turning specialist and with its inclusion in the olympics will be more so....the oz and kewis blood some players to improve their positional sense, ball handling and defence skills...carter ,gear,rokikoko
even lomo all played sevens with great effect
To the best of my knowledge most of the guys who make it in the full game who have played sevens only did so for 1 season at the most. I'd view it as a short term training exercise for the full game but no more. I mean we have all played it at training just usually on a smaller pitch and it has it's uses. It's not going to make a player in the full game though.
Case for embracing Sevens rugby is compelling
FRENCH NOTES : Our rugby analyst tries to engage the Taoiseach’s help in urging the IRFU to change tack and fully participate in the IRB’sSevens tournaments
In these tough economic times I am writing to you and respectfully requesting your assistance to introduce an exciting new business to Ireland. It would boost the country economically, give Ireland worldwide publicity and have a positive long-term effect financially and culturally.
Taoiseach, the business of sport is based on creating events and the great economic benefits these bring to the region that hosts them.
On a recent trip to Australia I was struck by the huge success of the IRB Sevens rugby tournament held last December on the Queensland Gold Coast.
In the period immediately prior to and after the tournament, cash flowed into ticket sales, hotels, retail, restaurants, pubs, airlines and entertainment facilities. This was a major windfall to the local business community and the government through the Australian equivalent of VAT.
It was also estimated that many hundreds of the tournament visitors stayed in Queensland for a holiday, further enhancing the economic benefits to the region.
According to Ron Clarke, Mayor of the Gold Coast and an Olympic medal winner in 1964, major international sporting events provide economic benefit for many years after.
Taoiseach, I know the IRB want the IRFU to host a sevens tournament in Dublin. That would benefit all of Ireland, not just Dublin.
The European Sevens tournaments are in June. No rugby is played in Ireland at that time and the GAA is just ramping up. It is a perfect window.
You see a Sevens tournament is not like the Six Nations or Heineken Cup. Sevens is a party and there is a new international audience that supports it. Like 20/20 cricket, they come to have fun and have a huge ‘hooley’. A large percentage would party on to other counties in Ireland.
For the last three years I have been lobbying for an IRB event at the Aviva. I have been “talking the talk” in public and private. I have met entrepreneurs interested in underwriting it and management companies interested in organising it. Yet for reasons that, up until now, have been unclear, I have drawn a blank.
More than a blank, I have drawn unexpected opposition.
Compare this to the attitude of CEO of the ARU, John O’Neill. John is financially conservative, yet he championed both the Australian Sevens team and the Gold Coast tournament. He has overseen the restructuring of the ARU Sevens programme that now involves mostly under-20 players.
That has led to Australia moving from “also rans” to winners. It has produced a major increase in the percentage of Sevens players who progress onto Super 15 rugby, so it’s a key factor in elite player development. The Gold Coast tournament underwrites the costs for the Sevens programme in Australia.
This model should and could be copied by Ireland.
Taoiseach, at the heart of this is the IRFU’s non-participation in the IRB Sevens tournaments. Ireland is the only major rugby-playing nation that does not compete on the IRB World tour. If Ireland does not compete they cannot host a tournament.
We suffer the indignity of countries like Kenya, Portugal, and Russia performing, while Ireland does not even enter.
Countries around the world are using Sevens to recruit new players as well as opening rugby to more women. The physical aspects are very different to 15-a-side.
The Queensland Rugby Union ran a programme called “Try Rugby Sevens”. It was piloted in 112 schools with 12,322 participants. It is a new sport for a new audience. Taoiseach, for a moment think local health. What saving to the community is a healthier society, with potentially thousands participating in a new sport? The IRFU have said programme costs were the major factor in not participating. The figure of €I million has been stated as the price. I believe that to be a very high figure, but let’s run with it. Let me put the cost into perspective.
The IRFU have recently released a policy of reducing the number of overseas players in Irish rugby, a policy I have been advocating for several years.
Three high-profile, overseas players cost the IRFU approximately €1 million. Implementing the new policy will see approximately 10 overseas players depart, saving the IRFU well over €1 million. Also, hosting the Dublin tournament would cover costs for the IRFU Sevens programme, as does the Gold Coast programme in Australia. As your friend Mr Obama would say: “Do the math.”
The positive social outcomes, the increase in participation numbers and the financial figures are overwhelming. The IRB even pay for flights and accommodation at the events. That every other rugby-playing country participate in Sevens might suggest Ireland has got it wrong.
There is another reason to be supportive.
As Sevens is now an Olympic sport, Ireland has a real chance to win medals. The incredible pool of talent and athleticism of Irish women, educated in GAA games and combined with a coordinated Sevens programme, will see Irish women in a position to ‘medal’ at Olympics.
If we start now a medal at Rio is possible. This is not just my opinion, but one held by leading IRFU figures.
Taoiseach, how wonderful for our country would it be to see an Irish team medal at the Olympic Games? Can you imagine the ‘shot in the arm’ that would give? Yet we are not going to enter the Olympics in Sevens, we are not allowing possible champions to participate at any IRB level of the sport.
This generation and the next, who have a real chance of success, are being denied the opportunity by the IRFU. Imagine the Irish Amateur Boxing Association denying Katie Taylor participation in international competition? I believe that non-participation is an internal IRFU political problem based on the participants’ declaration of country at the Olympics. Remember the IRFU represents the whole of Ireland.
Now, I coached in Ulster and will forever be indebted to people’s kindness and hospitality. I deeply enjoyed my time in Belfast.
Without being judgmental, it is not a certainty that Ulster players will declare for Ireland at an Olympics. That is the right of the players, not right or wrong but a reality.
Ulster players representing Ireland at the Olympics may not be acceptable to the Ulster representatives on the IRFU.
Under the Olympic agreement the Ulster players could play for Great Britain. That situation may not be acceptable for the IRFU members from the Republic.
This is a major political problem for the IRFU. While I empathise, the current policy has to end. Non-participation is an injustice to players. Part of the IRFU charter is to foster the game on this island. It is time officials realise the game is no longer just 15-a-side. By not participating the IRFU is not fulfilling its obligation under its own constitution.
It is time to change the policy. Rugby is a player’s game and the players must be allowed to play 15-a-side or seven-a-side.
Taoiseach, can you help? I am not very good at politics or diplomacy. They are not my strong point. To break this logjam requires a skill set which I do not possess.
Taoiseach, I respectfully ask you to stand up for our talented youth who have no voice. Please intervene to empower Irish athletes to show the world we can be winners. Like our 15-a-side teams have done, can you empower our talented youth and allow them to perform against the world, as equals as is their birth right, a right denied because of political manoeuvring.
Taoiseach please find a way, where I have failed.
Yours respectfully, Matthew Williams
Matt Williams seems mad for the Sevens to be held in Ireland. He makes a few good points, specifically about holding an event in Dublin in June.
- No events pencilled in for the Aviva this June.
- IRB pay for competing teams flights and accommodation.
- No GAA or rugby games in June.
- ARU fund their Sevens teams from the profits of the Australian Sevens leg.
- June would be the final event of the calendar.
- The UK leg last season had a total of over 100,000 people attend it. The tickets were between £30 and £40 for an adult weekend ticket.
I've only ever experienced the Wellington Sevens from when I was in NZ on the WHV. I was living in Wellington at the time and that weekend was brilliant. I didn't go to the stadium as I didn't have a ticket, they sell out in a very very short period of time months before the actual tournament itself. The Westpac has a capacity of 30,000 and the tournament is 2 days so that gives you an indication of the demand. The weekend is a big party with lots and lots of people dressing up in fancy dress and just having fun. Thinking back the only rugby I saw was highlights of the final.
So could we host a similar event in Dublin?
- The Aviva hire would be about 500,000 to 700,000 (Thornley mentioned that the rent for last season HEC knock games in the Aviva was 400,000. You could do some negotiating to get this lower for a 2 day event.)
- As mentioned above the IRB pay for teams flights and accommodation.
- If one day tickets were 25 euro and you got 15000 buying these each day that would be 750,000. If the weekend tickets were 35 euro and you got 10,000 buyers that would be 350,000. So in total a rough but conservative estimate would lead to total tickets sales of 1.1m.
- I personally think you'd get more than 15,000 per day buying one day tickets. There are 11/12,000 Leinster season ticket holders alone who would go for a day. Remember Leinster alone put 90-100,000 people in the Aviva over two games last season. Then you'd have rugby travelling fans from Munster, Ulster, and Connacht. Now remember the Sevens is also about a party atmosphere so people who wouldn't have much interest in rugby would go for this. The 10,000 weekend tickets would come from travelling fans. If you were a Welsh, French, or Italian fan would you prefer to go to London, Scotland, or Dublin? That's before you factor in fans from the other competing teams.
- Then there would be event sponsorship to add in too.
If you got sponsorship of 100,000 (I've no idea how much you could get from this) and add that to the ticket sales of 1.1m I'd be confident of the tournament breaking even at least.
If this was to happen a sevens event in Ireland the most likely date would be mid may ie a week after England so that teams can run a training camp in the British Isles covering events in Scotland London and Ireland
This years schedule is:
Oz 25/26 Nov
Dubai 2/3 Dec
SA 9/10 Dec
NZ 3/4 Feb
USA 10/12 Feb
Hong Kong 2v3-25 Mar
Japan 31 Mar 1 April
Scot 5/6 May
England 12/13 May
If Ireland were to hold an event then the last leg (Scot, England, & Ire) would have to be moved a few weeks later as:
Pro12 Semi finals are 12/13 May
HEC final is 19 May
Pro12 Final is 25/26 May
I couldn't see the Dublin Sevens running when those games are on as well. Also temperature wise it would be better in June if you ask me.