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 (Part I)

Introduction

The announcement of the forthcoming, new rugby Super 7s League - to debut in summer 2018 - represents the most significant and exciting innovation in the sport of rugby since the Melrose RFC of Scotland offered the initial, seven-a-side version in 1883.

Basically, Super 7s takes standard sevens play and transposes its two, seven minute halves (14-minutes total) into four periods of twelve minutes each to comprise a 48-minute, four quarter game like basketball. This system differs from the traditional sevens format of pool play, followed by playoffs, leading to semi-finals and finals, often played over two days, or one, long day of competition. To accommodate the longer match time, each team features a roster of sixteen players, and permits unlimited substitution. 

The rules of sevens would remain the same with the minor adjustments of a coach’s challenge (one per quarter), and a two on one “sudden death” playoff in case of a tie.

(Importantly, the Super 7s has presented this pioneering sevens game concept to World Rugby, headquartered in Dublin, for a review through the organization’s official channels.) 

Experimental Try Out

In 2014, at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, organizers showcased the first ever Super 7s match. The introductory contest was between two, made up sides, the Ontario Blues and the New York Rhinos. The objective was to present this new version of sevens rugby in a recognizable sport format familiar to Americans via a complete game (e.g.; four quarters, three periods, nine innings, etc.).

The response from fans and the media was highly positive from viewing a high-scoring sevens match with lots of tries. Players that day waxed enthusiastically about the four-quarter arrangement, and the adaptation to the 12-minute quarters.

Next Steps – Establish A League

The goal for Super 7s has always been to introduce a multi-city, sevens rugby league with the contests televised nationally.  Two events occurred simultaneously to achieve this outcome, a business plan with financials to demonstrate the organizational structure and the income potential, and then the hiring of an experienced executive, familiar both with league starts up and rugby. Selected for the head operational position was David Niu (51) an Australian-American, former USA Eagle in 1999, and organizer of Arena Football League in China.

(Part II Tomorrow – Super 7s Becomes Reality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

I'd love to see rugby really take off in the US, and Super 7s may be the way to reach the US audience. Standard-format 7s tournaments still have potential (I think), but XV-a-side has proven a tough sell. The problem I see in Super 7s is that it puts the US (once again) in the position of playing a different format of handling football than the rest of the world. It does teach rugby skills and rugby vision, but once the US is doing its own thing, how long will it take to make other unilateral changes to draw audiences, and how long before that game is no longer rugby?
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