1) Canada’s new coach McGrath says “digestibility” of sevens is key
Former Samoa and newly appointed Canada coach Damian McGrath said in the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” that the digestibility of rugby sevens is one of the main reasons for the sports growing success. Beside the raw pace and power which sevens features, especially newcomers will be attracted by the “bite-sized chunks of excitement”. Englishman McGrath described the 15-a-side game as “physical chess” that can be tough for an outsider and sometimes “a little bit boring”.
Canada’s men and women teams will start the new season at next week’s Dubai 7s, the first leg of the Sevens World Series. While the men failed to qualify for Rio 2016, the women’s finished the tournament in third position.
2) Rio 2016 attracted nearly 17m new rugby fans
Mike Rowbottom, writer at inside the games, reflects in an extensive article the astounding success which came along with the Olympic Games. An online research study conducted before and after the Games by Nielsen Sports in the six core markets of Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States indicated that the tournament attracted nearly 17 million new fans.
Additionally the study implements that the Olympic status had increased the sport's reach, particularly with women and the 18-24 age groups. Rugby outperformed other sports on the Olympic programme in terms of growth in interest after Rio 2016, with an average increase of 10 per cent. Within the UK the research found that nearly four in 10 18-24s watched on television as Britain's men claimed silver and its women lost the bronze medal match. Meanwhile, World Rugby reported that its social media fan-base grew by 670,000 during 2016.
3) Forbes on track for new record
New Zealand’s former captain DJ Forbes aims for the all-time tournament appearance record at the HSBC Dubai Sevens next week. Forbes currently shares the tournament appearance record of 79 with Samoa's Uale Mai. The 33-year-old stepped down as captain ahead of the 2015-16 series, with Scott Curry set to lead the side in Dubai.
4) England’s Sevens team ready for Dubai with new kit
In a shiny new kit, England’s silver medallist, captained by Tom Mitchell, will face Samoa, Russia and New Zealand in Dubai. Beside Mitchell, fellow Olympians Dan Bibby, Phil Burgess, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ruaridh McConnochie, Dan Norton and James Rodwell also made it into the squad. In addition Tom Bowen, Alex Davis, Richard de Carpentier, Charlie Hayter and Ethan Waddleton were selected this week.
5) New Fiji Sevens documentary
Fiji’s remarkable back-to-back World Series wins and an incredible first-ever Olympic medal in Rio are two huge achievements which are now documented in a new stunning film by HSBC Sport. A promising trailer has just been released and it looks like this is documentary not to be missed.