My knowledge of Rugby could be written down on a postcard. There would still be room to write down a holiday message too…I really do not know that much. Kick the ball forward and throw it back. Scrums and trys…
However, did you know that women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world? It adds close to 500,000 players a year. Even if those growth rates drop a little, by 2026 40% of rugby players worldwide will be female.
When I got an invitation from HSBC Sport to come along to World finals day of the Rugby 7’s at Twickenham, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to find out more about this engaging new sport.
Tickets collected, the atmosphere was building as the crowds gathered. The sun shone down as teams such as New Zealand, Spain, Fiji, US and of course England battled out try after try at breakneck speed.
My basic rugby knowledge did not impair my enjoyment one bit, the speed of the game made it exciting viewing.
Each team of seven play for a swift 7 minutes each side. This encourages a dynamic end-to-end game. The international Teams where in the knockout stages today, and there was little let up in the entertainment from the very start.
HSBC had kindly arranged for me to meet Rugby legend Brian O Driscoll and Ben Ryan, former captain of the British & Irish Lions, and gold medal rugby coach respectively. Between them, they know a thing or two about the game. Brian talked about some of his career highlights and recalled with fondness the grass roots of his career. Ryan told us all about his coaching of the Fiji Team – bringing the country its first ever Olympic medal. He has been immortalised on the country’s banknotes and coins. He’s actually minted! Both guys were so genuine and enthusiastic, really superb ambassadors for the game. Our attention from chit-chat got diverted by the Scotland vs New Zealand game next to us, in which Scotland staged a comeback in the last seconds. That’s the thing about this game, it’s so fast moving it’s not over right up until the whistle blows.
Brian O’Driscoll, Susie Chan and Ben Ryan.
The other thing I really enjoyed was the crowd and atmosphere. So welcoming and with a real family feel to the day. Thousands cheering, laughing, and getting stuck in to the games. I had not got the memo about turning up in fancy dress….thousands had. So many hilarious costumes from stormtroopers, to nuns, to donkeys. The crowd, the game, the atmosphere…much fun to be had!
If you are interested in Rugby 7’s head over to HSBC Sport Rugby 7’s.
Want to play? Male or female check out www.findrugbynow.com.