Gregan: Hunt for Olympic medals can start now
HSBC Rugby legends Jason Robinson, George Gregan and IRB Hall of Fame inductee Gordon Tietjens agree that the success of the London 2012 Olympics has pushed even greater focus on the international sport of Rugby Sevens.
Former Wallaby captain Gregan is set to attend round one of the Series on Australia’s Gold Coast this weekend, and is expecting great things of the 2012/13 season.
“I always look forward to the start of the HSBC Sevens World Series, I’ll be down at the Gold Coast. It’s top quality Rugby and spread over two days per tournament so everyone can come and take a look,” he said.
Glimpsing further into the future, Gregan is also excited by the positive impact the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the next Olympic Games will have on the sport of Rugby as a whole.
“The 2012 Olympics was brilliant, hats off to all the organisers of the event. With Rugby now in the Olympics it will be great for players to play for Olympic medals in four years’ time.
"Rio will be the perfect setting for Sevens’ inclusion in the Games, the carnival atmosphere will really suit the flavour of Sevens,” added Gregan.
Jason Robinson’s acceleration and eye for a gap would have made him the perfect Sevens exponent. He too is confident that the shortened form of the game can capitalise on its golden opportunity.
“Rugby Sevens will keep the momentum up from the London 2012 Olympics. The start of the HSBC Sevens World Series and Rugby Sevens’ inclusion now in the Olympics will make it even more exciting to watch,” said the HSBC ambassador.
“Sevens is the raw form of Rugby. Players learn how to use the space around them and that in turn allows them to express themselves. Players with good feet and ball in hand who attack the open spaces really shine – that gets the crowd going.”
With Rio 2016 on the horizon, a new promotion and relegation system has been put in place giving every nation the chance to try and gain core team status on the World Series – a positive move according to the coach of the defending Series champions, New Zealand’s All Blacks Sevens.
“It gives all the nations competing internationally at Sevens the focus and opportunity to try and get into the HSBC Sevens World Series. Sevens is now an Olympic sport so it’s great that everyone has the opportunity to play at the highest level,” commented Tietjens, who is also an ambassador for the Series sponsor.
“I was there in Hong Kong last year when Spain, Portugal and Canada were promoted and qualified for the Series this year. It was fantastic to see the pleasure and passion on the faces of those players when they qualified.
“In Sevens there really isn’t an easy game, anybody can beat you on their day. The fifteen-a-side game is pretty consistent in terms of the bigger teams, but the new promotion and relegation system in the Sevens World Series really suits the emerging nations playing Rugby.”