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Hawkeye view: The inside on Sevens

We find ourselves three weeks away from travel day. Travel day is the day all teams look forward too.

The hard work and preparation have reached a precipice that has them launching to flight or plunging to defeat.

The teams will be heading out to Dubai for the next leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

For those that don't know, Dubai has a truly incredible feel and when your there you feel as though anything is possible and its probably the best setting for a Sevens tournament in the world.

The facilities, the organization, the accommodation, the Sevens stadium, the administrative staff and the fantastic carnival atmosphere that is created with the invitational tournaments taking place all over the stadium with kids teams, Women's international and invitational teams, old crocs teams and elite level brackets that see many international players past and present in them.

It's a sight to be hold and an experience and tournament that every player looks forward to.

Hong Kong is the grandfather of the Sevens Series and provides its own theatrics, but Dubai is the future.

If we were to compare it to another sport that most could reference, it would be Formula One and Silverstone would be the Hong Kong and Monaco would be the Dubai.

As we look forward to the next event, we have to mention that since the gates were closed on the Gold Coast, there have been multiple occasions for teams to test out players in their squad that didn't quite make the grade before the Gold Coast, but also put them in game pressure situations which allows you to evaluate a player in a true game day environment, which is what counts.

A tournament that deserve a mention took place on the Central Coast of Australia, that was followed by the Singapore Cricket Club Sevens Tournament and this next week sees the Coral Coast tournament in Fiji take place.

These tournaments have grown significantly in recent years and have started to attract elite international invitational teams. Many of them have also started to add a female division, which has created significant growth to the Sevens game, but also driven many invitational touring teams to take on a developmental role for National teams and some with greater pull, drawing players from multiple countries and putting them together for a weekend.

There is prize money to be won and it has started to become a business for many of these teams, the most well known of the bunch would have to be the Samurai Sevens team.

However, the most significant effect is the ability that a coach and a national team program now has the ability to string together enough tournaments in and around the Sevens Word Series, that they can use for continual to assessment of their squad and provide opportunities for players with in your squad to get real game time versus inter squad scrimmaging, which is significant.

I believe these tournaments will continue to grow and the opportunity for a real IRB sanctioned Tier Two developmental series that sits below the premier IRB Sevens World Series is very likely and possible and could create some incredible opportunities moving forward.

How this plays out over the next few years will be effected massively by what decisions are made by the IRB for the Premier series.

A year ago the IRB started to open up the idea to the global community about a revamp to the current IRB Sevens World Series.

There was talk of changing host countries, the cities which host the event in those countries, there was talk about how many players would be allowed to travel with teams as a squad and then how and when you selected your roster of 12 for each game.

A tender was put out and 25 countries responded that they would in fact love to host a IRB Sevens World Series event.

Through the process the IRB worked on creating High Performance standards and minimum criteria that needed to be met for you to move through a filtering process.

The decisions have been made and we will hopefully get the announcement in next few weeks on what the Sevens Series will look like moving forward.

The Sevens game has also realized four other major events – that sit outside of the World Series – that provide unique opportunities for a player to add special credentials to his bio.

* Sevens World Cup

* Commonwealth Games

* Pan American Games

* Olympic Games

As we all know an athlete's life span is not guaranteed and there are so many factors that can effect the longevity of a player in an international Sevens side.

These events I list above all take place every four years and are a huge highlight for a player and none more important now than the Olympic Games.

Sevens is going from strength to strength globally, but also transcending boundaries to places in the world that never saw rugby to be an option. Its an exciting time and a time to keep a close eye on the future.

As we move closer to Dubai, next week we will take another look at the styles and identities of more teams on the HSBC World Series and establish some pitfalls of the Dubai tournament for teams and talk through how teams try to overcome these.

By Matt Hawkins



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