IRANZ Insight: Pecking order in World Rugby about to change

Rugby 7’s is fast becoming the show piece of Rugby Union.

An Olympic sport, played on a global circuit in exotic locations such as Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Los Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris.

The game is also now giving emerging rugby countries many incentives. Not only are they experiencing the magic of cultural diversity, but also money.

IRANZ Managing Director Murray Mexted believes Rugby 7’s will eventually create new giants in the 15’s format. Photo Credit: USA Rugby

Olympic committees, especially in places like the USA and China, want to win medals and see this as achievable in Rugby 7’s because the number one ranked team in the world, is just a small country in the South Pacific, with a population of under 5 million people.

I can just visualise the various governing bodies saying, “Let’s throw some money at it and the medals will come.”

And they will.

The USA is now beating the rest of the world on a regular basis and who, apart from the Americans, would have thought that five years ago?

The balance of power in Europe is also evident with Spain beating Scotland and Wales over the weekend. And it’s not only the men’s game. The women’s circuit has the USA in second position to NZ, with China looking like a force to be reckoned with in the future.

How does this correlate to the XV’s game, you may ask?

Well, it’s the same. Both codes need to win the ball from set play; retain it or regain it at the breakdown; defend and score tries. The team factor is the same, as is the strategy and execution. So I’m predicting in one years’ time, the USA will be the best in the world at Men’s 7’s and in five years’ time, China will be the best women’s team, with the US breathing down their necks.

The same will happen with XV’s, but it will take a bit longer.

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