x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Wrong to take the standard of sevens rugby for granted

No wonder Ben Ryan, England's sevens coach, subsequently said he found the idea of XVs players thinking they can just segue back in to the abridged code "insulting to the players we have got".

Ben Foden is ill advised to believe he can walk straight into the England Sevens team.
Ben Foden is ill advised to believe he can walk straight into the England Sevens team.

Either Ben Foden has got a short memory or he has totally lost touch with the sevens scene since he has been gone.

When the England full-back said this week that he fancies having a dart at selection for the Great Britain side for the Rio Olympics in 2016, he rather missed the point.

No wonder Ben Ryan, England's sevens coach, subsequently said he found the idea of XVs players thinking they can just segue back in to the abridged code "insulting to the players we have got".

No doubt Ryan is well aware of Foden's merits. The Northampton back was the key player in Ryan's first Dubai Rugby Sevens as England coach, back in 2007.

The standing of the abridged format has altered greatly - and for the better - since, and it was understandable the England manager was annoyed.

Ryan will not have just said that because of the presumptuousness of it all.

It is based on facts that are undeniable when you look at the only viable template for success at a Games - namely New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.

New Zealand have never failed to win anything less than gold in four goes at Commonwealths to date. And Gordon Tietjens, their coach, has always favoured sevens specialists over any lauded All Blacks.

If any more than a couple of established XVs players have serious designs on the Olympics, they ought to start thinking about making the switch now rather than treating it as an addendum to their day jobs.

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