At my first Dubai 7’s I wasn’t disappointed with either the rugby or the atmosphere. It was not quite as wild as Hong Kong but it came a close second. I also got to spend a full day in the company of the Michael Johnson (of Olympic 200 & 400 metre fame). He’s as gracious, interesting and eloquent as his BBC punditry has made him out to be.
I was there as a HSBC ambassador along with Jason Robinson and Michael for day 1. We were treated to some class rugby by some phenomenal athletes.
To really appreciate the game it needs to be watched live. The thing that hits home most is the contest and collisions at the ruck time. This is definitely the aspect of the game that seems to have changed most in recent years. Gone are the days where maintaining possession after the tackle could almost be guaranteed.
Fiji ran away with the final in the end against a resurgent England. Their skill sets and general ‘Seven’s fitness’ seems to be at another level.
Jason & myself were treated to a masterclass chat with current kiwi coach Sir Gordon Titchens around the intricacies of the game. There are few others better served to impart their knowledge on the game of Seven’s than the 22 year veteran coach.
As this is the first round of the HSBC series, we are in for a treat this year with 9 more events and that’s all before we get to see one country win Olympic gold in the summer of 2016!
On current form you wouldn’t get great odds on Fiji…