Storm 7 are thrilled to announce that they have joined the Bristol based charity PROPS to help raise money over the coming years.
PROPS provide opportunities for those with learning disabilities and work with them to provide a range of services in life long learning.
Storm 7 will be donating prize money to the charity, raising money during tournaments, as well as promoting the charities work throughout the year.
The first challenge that storm 7 are keen to get involved with is the ‘Pedal for Props’ charity bike ride, from Bristol to Bordeaux.
Storm are looking to put together a 4 man team including players, sponsors and supporters to join the other intrepid 66 people taking part in the ride. if you would like to get involved or sponsor the Storm 7 team then please contact Tim Gear-Evans (go to contact page for details).
Find out more about PROPS please visit their website by CLICKING HERE
and follow them on twitter: @propsbarbarians and the charity ride is: @pedalforprops
Updates throughout the season.
Although Carlin Isles has only be playing rugby for a short time, we would gladly take the man under our wing at Storm 7! Might head off to the track to spot some future talent….
We would like to send out a late congratulations to Graham Speirs who was called up to play for Scotland in Moscow for the 2nd leg of the FIRA-AER GP European Sevens Series. He has been a fantastic player for Storm 7 this summer, and we are incredibly happy that we were able to give him a platform to showcase his talent. We look forward to him re-joining the squad for our outing at Edinburgh Rugby Rocks this weekend.
4 July 2012 by Adrian Hill – Running Rugby
The London 2012 Olympics are a reminder that rugby will soon return to being part of the so-called `greatest show on earth`. Three years ago the abbreviated form was voted on to the schedule for the Games, to be held at the famous Maracana Stadium (pictured below) in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. That decision has set in train worldwide growth, so what opportunities do this present individuals and companies in Britain and Ireland?
Becoming an Olympic discipline opens up funding opportunities and thus the means to facilitate increased participation and, ultimately, the lure of competing on the biggest stage offered to most sports.
“From a global perspective, it raises awareness of both sevens and rugby in general. Russia and China have both put rugby on the school curriculums because of it becoming an Olympic sport,” says former England Sevens coach Mike Friday.
“It has also changed perspectives in America, where if you can’t be a football or baseball player you want to be an Olympian. There has also been increased investment in Canada and the Netherlands and even in the traditional nations there is the `Going for Gold` initiative in Australia and different pathways opening up in New Zealand.
“Becoming a part of the Olympics makes rugby seen as a sport for all.”
The last time rugby featured as an Olympic event was in Paris 1924; the United States are the unlikely reigning Olympic champions. Growth Stateside looks inevitable based on the success of its HSBC Sevens World Seriesevent. In 2009, the San Diego Sevens generated $630,000 (£400,000), a year later the Las Vegas Sevens took in excess of $17m (£10.9m).
So much has changed since 1924, with World Cups in both forms of the game, professionalism, sevens being included in the Commonwealth Games and the advent of the annual World Series, which reaches 187 million homes in 136 countries with a potential audience reach of over 475 million. Re-admission to the Olympics means interest is set to rocket even higher.
Maracana Stadium in Rio, host city of the 2016 Olympic Games
More people playing necessarily means more coaches are required; the largest pool of expert coaches exists in the British Isles, so surely this is a chance for a qualified coach to seek his fortune in the new world of rugby?
“The IRB (International Rugby Board) are pretty keen on giving coaching assistance to developing nations. The dream is always for a native coach to be in charge of their national team but there will always be a period when you need to buy in to structures already in place elsewhere,“ Friday responds.
Playing sevens is tough on the body and Friday also sees opportunities for fitness experts: “Sports science is so important by the nature of how sevens tournaments are set up.
“In 15-a-side players have to peak for a game, then rest and train over a number of days before peaking again for the next game. In sevens it’s very different, they have got to do that six times through a tournament, so conditioning has to be done in a different way – this opens up numerous opportunities in fitness and conditioning, physiology and medical services.
“The rugby market is getting bigger. The growth of sevens will not give a boost to the sale of scrummaging machines but will undoubtedly do so for the rugby equipment and accessories market.”
Manufacturers are ready and willing to tap into this potential gold mine. Andy Challis, brand manager at Gilbert tells Running Rugby: “Sevens is becoming increasingly important, although it still plays a secondary role to 15-a-side. It has created an interest in less well-known rugby countries, mainly due to access to greater funding and because it suits smaller group sizes.
“We are the official ball supplier to the Russian Rugby Union as a direct result of Olympic funding.”
“It opens up new, non-traditional markets - Brazil, for instance. In the last two or three years we have seen the development of full-time professionals and the amount of people who attend the Marriott London Sevens shows that it can stand up against 15s in its own right.”
Twickenham saw 103,027 spectators attend the final leg of the World Series in May, a six-month odyssey around the globe which has seen the new world make its mark. More and more rugby balls are set to fly to all corners of the atlas. Challis told Running Rugby that he could not provide figures to back that up but agrees with the sentiment.
“We export to over 100 countries and that is set to grow. We are looking at our distribution network to service that. We make our own balls in our own factory but there will definitely be growth on our distribution side.
“We have seen huge growth, rapidly increasing. Sevens is becoming a much more important element to us. More clubs are entering Sevens tournaments and they ask for more and more lighter weight, breathable materials as the game is played at a higher intensity, usually in warmer temperatures.”
As a coach, Friday appreciates that in a game of small margins the edge a more comfortable kit provides can be crucial: “On the performance fabric side there are different heat and humidity demands around the world so the performance of kits will be a key part.
“There is a chance for manufacturers to innovate and get those `one per centers` that can make the difference to winning and losing. To do that, though, they have got to understand the fundamentals of the game.”
Off the field, the global Sevens events remain popular with tour groups but lag way behind the revenue generated by the Rugby World Cup or Lions tours. Apparently, they are victims of their own success.
“Despite the increase in popularity, attendance and media exposure, this has in fact had a detrimental effect overall on the overseas travel business,” explains Alister Strahan, general manager of Gullivers Sports Travel
“Whereas five to 10 years ago ticket access was generally seen as difficult to come by, the increased popularity has led to bigger stadiums therefore far easier access. The increased attendance is almost entirely locally driven rather than from the overseas market.
“Hong Kong, with its iconic status, is the one exception to this although this event has still had almost zero growth for overseas travel businesses as we are restricted by the tickets made available to us.”
Gullivers currently provides travel options to Sevens tournaments in Argentina , Dubai, Las Vegas and Hong Kong , plus tailor-made options to the Tokyo event.
“The Sevens market is completely different to that of the 15-a-side game,” adds Strahan. “They are different sports, played by different players with a big gulf in popularity, media exposure, finance and interest. Sevens is a hobby, 15s is serious rugby and although the gap is closing it will always be treated as more of an entry level for players to the 15 man code.”
It has been suggested that the Olympic inclusion raises the possibility of Sevens becoming bigger than 15-a-side, at least in some parts of the world as has been the case with Twenty20 and Test cricket. Will this bold statement ever be proved?
“In the women’s game, absolutely; Sevens will become the pinnacle because it’s far easier to finance. In the men’s game I can’t see the dream of being a 15s international ever being overtaken. If the finances get close young players will have to make a decision on their career earlier,” predicts Friday.
“At the moment players are not going to walk away from the chance of earning, say, £200,000 to get £40,000 playing Sevens. If it becomes £100,000 per year then things may change. Money will become a key factor.”
The Future’s looking Stormy…