Rugby Sevens growing in strength and stature
By Iswan Omar
The Singer SriLankan Airlines Sevens tournament – 2005 with 12 participating teams of differing standards, level of development and aspirations playing 26 games within two days on the 10th and 11th September 2005 in Kandy represents a meaningful cross-section of the game and offer the researchers an ideal opportunity to identify and assess trends. This is why! After each tournament the IRB game analysis center produces a research paper and it is this which, together with the 26 games analysis breakdown provide by Unisys, has found the raw information for this write – up.

Rugby is cherished as a sport for people of all ages, gender, race and creed and develops team values, understanding, cooperation and respect for fellow athletes. It has great educational value and should now be in the school curriculum in Sri Lanka. In keeping with its traditions and ethos rugby is largely doping – free and the IRB is determined that it should remain so.

Historically, Seven–a–side rugby has been played for over a century for fun and entertainment at the beginning and the end of a grueling 15-a-side season. In recent years, the launch of the RWC 7’s in 1993 and the creation of the IRB Sevens Grand Prix series in 1999 saw the game of sevens established as an elite level, independent sport.

Rugby promises to deliver the World’s best teams and top players has been confirmed by leading exponents of the present day game who are unanimously of the view that Olympic participation would represent the peak of Rugby achievement for the World’s top players. The growth, popularity and suitability of sevens to multi-sport games were also reflected in the July 2002 recommendations of the IOC Olympic program commission to include Rugby Sevens in the program of the Beijing 2008 Olympic games.

Rugby now has a good profile within the Olympic movement, assisted by the Olympic Program Commission and the support of members of the IOC itself. However, there is still much work to be done if rugby is to become an Olympic Sport and the IRB is working on a promotional strategy, which will eventually lead to the Rugby’s full acceptance as a Medal Sport in the Olympic.

Once rugby becomes as Olympic sport it will open up new funding, resources and facilities, because National Sports associations give priority to Olympic Sports.

SriLankan Airlines’ Head of Corporate Communications Chandana De Silva shed light on his organizations’ continuing support of the crowning event in Sri Lanka’s annual rugby calendar. Providing the preliminary details, De Silva revealed that the Singer SriLankan International Rugby 7’s had commenced in 1998, inspired by the Dubai and Hong Kong 7’s, to give an international flavour to Sri Lankan rugby. At which time however, the event had attracted level three rugby playing clubs from several parts of the world.

He added that the event has now grown in stature to attract a number of clubs from some of the top rugby playing nations in the world.


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