x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Attack-happy sevens is the tonic after average Rugby World Cup

The XVs game has become one homogenous mulch of styles, give me attack-happy rugby sevens any day.

Finally, the proper sport is about to start. Fair enough, the right team won the World Cup in New Zealand, but the rugby itself was average.

The XVs game has become one homogenous mulch of styles, where bulky, identikit forwards crash the ball up into contact, then one pass gets made along the backline, for a bulky, identikit three-quarter to run the ball into contact.

All of which happens in the opposition half, because the ball has been kicked there by the only players with any flair, but whose wings have been clipped by a bloated coaching staff for whom mistakes at the back would be more than their job is worth.

Give me attack-happy sevens any day. The growing popularity of the abbreviated form is evidenced by the fact another tournaments has been added to the world series this season.

Dubai is no longer the start of the series, but the mid-point of a three weekend run that takes in the Gold Coast first, and ends in the 48,000 seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa.

The changing priorities have even trickled down to the domestic game. The first National Sevens Series begins at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence today, the first of four weekends of sevens, culminating in the Dubai showpiece at the start of December.

It will take more than that to make the UAE team - who were extremely lucky to be granted a special invitation to play in their home competition - competitive in the Sevens. But at least a start has been made.

pradley@thenational.ae


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