My excitement for the new HSBC World Sevens Series is at an all-time high. I am certain that the quality of 7s rugby that will be played this season will be of a standard that we have not seen before, with many of the top sides having dedicated more time and resources to their now 'full-time' squads. Of course it's not just the top teams that have my excitment nicely brewing but it is also the middle ranked sides and of course the new settings on the tour.
My excitement for the new HSBC World Sevens Series is at an all-time high. I am certain that the quality of 7s rugby that will be played this season will be of a standard that we have not seen before, with many of the top sides having dedicated more time and resources to their now 'full-time' squads.
Of course it's not just the top teams that have my excitment nicely brewing but it is also the middle ranked sides and of course the new settings on the tour.
The HSBC World Sevens Series has had some back drops in the past that have been and gone including Los Angeles, San Diego, Singapore, Paris, Cardiff, Adelaide and George but we now look forward to 3 new locations for the most exciting rugby tour to stop at.
We will get a real taste for the new tour in 2011 as well, which is probably why I am as excited as I am. All of the stories and rumours that are coming out of Australia is that we are going to see quite a different tournament on the Gold Coast of Australia than we have seen in past at the Adelaide Oval.
The Adelaide Oval is ridiculously picturesque and obviously a famous sports arena in terms of Cricket and Aussie Rules but Rugby 7s and Adelaide never quite clicked for either the fans or the players and teams themselves, the only thing that stood out was the heat. I always got frustrated when seeing professional international sportsman changing in team tents, I know most 7s players do this across the world and that being a professional shouldn't differ this but these guys are some of the best athletes in the world and they need to be looked after as such.
The Gold Coast Sevens have named themselves 'fever-pitch' and the tournament is a culmination of 'rugby week' which will see a huge involvement from the Queensland Reds as they go out into the community spreading the gospel of 7s. Alongside this we can see a number of social and competitive tournaments throughout the week, a model that is successfully working in Dubai, Vegas and Hong Kong and will only boost the 1st leg as it kicks off the series.
The most important change, is one that tournament directors of World Series tournaments have greatly recognised in recent years and that is the importance of the tournament being in a globally recognised 'destination'. To attract fans from around the world, which goes a huge way to securing the tournament in said location through a boost to tourism spend, the location of the tournament needs to be in a recognisable and desirable place for people to travel too. It took the guys at the top of USA Sevens 3 attempts to get it right after first stopping at Beckham's home ground in LA before heading to my old favorite Petco Park in San Diego before realising that the destination that would always draw fans is that of Las Vegas.
Credit must go to the organisers of the Gold Coast International 7s tournament that has been taking place over the past couple of years. I remember when UR7s first reported on the birth of the tournament in August 2009 (article here) and my first thought was that, if the tournament proved to be successful I was sure that the ARU would move their World Series leg to the Gold Coast. Of course it might of been the reading of this quote from Gold Coast Rugby Chairman, Murray d'Almeida that made me think this “We would like the Gold Coast International 7s event to become a part of an extended IRB Sevens World Series in the future"
Well after 2 years of hard work, with sides from all over Australia and further afield taking part in the tournament, Murray and his team proved that the Gold Coast was ready for top class rugby 7s and now we look forward to the World Series kicking off on November 26/27th.
I can only hope that the move to the Gold Coast sees similar success as we have seen in the US, with the organisers delivering an event of the highest quality for the players, spectators, grassroots rugby and local community whilst enjoying the setting of the Gold Coast of Australia.
I shall be bringing you a weekly build-up piece between now and the kick off of the World Series, next week I am going to take at a closer look at the move from George to Port Elizabeth in South Africa for round 3 of the tour.