Limerick city and Thomond Park Stadium welcome back the second year of the Limerick World Club Se7ens Series in August. All four Irish provinces will be represented this year and twelve rugby teams from across the world will take part in the two-day event which will run from Friday, August 21 to Saturday, August 22. The event will showcase some of the world’s best 7’s men’s teams and promises to be a weekend of great 7’s rugby as well as bringing a festival atmosphere to Limerick city.
This year’s Limerick World Club Se7ens is even more special as all four of the Irish provinces are taking part. Also represented at the tournament will be teams from both the northern and southern Hemispheres. The teams competing include reigning champions Daveta Fiji who will return to defend their Limerick World Club Se7ens title, along with 2014 Twickenham 7’s champions Buenos Aires.
But for those people who aren’t sure exactly what 7’s rugby is, here’s a bit of history! Rugby 7’s, is a variant of rugby union. The teams are made up of seven players, instead of 15, and the matches last for 15 minutes. While a regular rugby union match lasts at least 80 minutes, a normal 7’s rugby match consists of two halves of seven minutes with a one-minute half-time break. The scoring is the same in 7’s rugby it’s just a much faster paced game.
The shorter match length means rugby 7’s tournaments can be completed in a day or a weekend. Rugby 7’s is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The international rugby 7’s competitions include the HSBC Sevens World Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Rugby 7’s is also played at the Commonwealth Games, with South Africa winning this competition in 2014. Rugby 7’s is now recognised as an Olympic sport and will make its debut in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Just as the men’s 7’s tournament is finishing up in Limerick, twelve women’s 7’s teams will converge on University College Dublin to compete in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series qualifier. The competition will be for two places on the 2015-16 series. Brazil, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Samoa, South Africa and Wales will all hope to join the sides who retained their places by finishing in the top nine in the 2014-15 series.
The nine countries that held their places were; New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, USA, France, Russia, Fiji and Spain. The top four of these teams also secured their place in Rio 2016 when rugby 7’s makes its debut at the Olympic Games. Brazil and Colombia have already secured their place at Rio 2016 along with New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Team GB.
The Women’s Sevens Dublin will take place at the UCD Bowl in Dublin, from the 22nd to the 23rd of August. The venue has capacity for 3,000 spectators and it is another step forward for women’s sport in Ireland as it comes just weeks after it was announced that the country will host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.