Tuesday 19th January 2010
|The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is beginning the development of a long term strategy for Rugby Sevens in England at all levels by hosting a pivotal planning forum for over 70 key stakeholders in the game.
The Sevens Future Landscape conference will be hosted at Twickenham Stadium on January 22 and, as well as senior management from the RFU, includes delegates from the International Rugby Board (IRB), Premier Rugby Limited (PRL), Rugby Players Association (RPA), Sport England and representatives from major leisure Rugby Sevens tournaments currently hosted around the country.
Presenters at the conference include David Faulkner from England Hockey and Simon Golding from Beach Volleyball, who will share their experiences of the Olympic effect on their sports, and Steve Griffiths from the IRB who will present on the global development of Sevens. High profile ex-players of the Sevens game such as Phil Greening and Mike Friday will also be sharing their views.
The conference objective is to share insights and generate discussion about how best to seize the opportunity to grow Rugby Sevens from the grassroots to the elite game in England on the back of the successful IRB World Series and the sport's inclusion in the Olympics in 2016.
Following the conference the RFU will take all those inputs and build a strategic framework for the game that is connected with the IRB's wider ambitions to grow Rugby Sevens around the world and which gives tournament providers a clear structure within which they can operate.
Francis Baron, Chief Executive of the RFU, commented: "As the national governing body for rugby in England it is essential that we take the lead on the development of Sevens. The inclusion of the game in the Olympics offers a massive opportunity to grow the game of rugby still further in England and globally but this needs to happen in a managed and structured fashion so that it does not conflict with or undermine the wider development of the professional and amateur game."
Terry Burwell, the RFU's Director of Tournaments and Competitions, who is leading the conference, added: "This is not just an opportunity for the elite game although the success of the IRB World Series has given us a fantastic shop window. Over 60,000 supporters came to the London leg of the World Series over one weekend last May and we are aiming for over 100,000 this year so that gives us a great platform to build from.
"From a participation perspective there is a huge amount going on at all levels of the game and Rugby Sevens is played across England most of the year. For many players playing Sevens is the way they come into the game and part of how they stay in the game. So making sure we have the right structures in place to grow Sevens in a way that complements and benefits the XV a side game and vice versa is crucial. Nobody is better placed than the RFU to do that but the input of stakeholders across the Sevens game is vital."
Posted by: , on January 19th 2010 on 12:26pm