Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Senior National 7s cancelled - future junior tournaments under threat?

The Senior National 7s has been cancelled by RFUW due to a lack of entries. Until a few days ago only five teams were listed as having entered a tournament designed for 32 teams. The junior sevens has attracted a full entry of 16 teams for each age band (see here for complete entry) and will still go ahead.

Until only three years ago the National Sevens was a three day event, with the adult competition taking two days to reach a conclusion. Its decline seems to have started with the move of the event to Leighton Buzzard and the related reduction of the tournament to a single day. This also resulted in disappearance of many of the social activities associated with the event, which may have been a reason for the decline.

However, at £150 for a single day's rugby the National Sevens may also have priced itself beyond the reach of most clubs - a bit of a problem especially with the rise of the Bournemouth Sevens, which is cheaper, offers a full weekend of rugby, includes both men's and women's tournaments, and has a lot of off-field attractions. Letchworth already send a men's team to Bournemouth and it is being suggested that next year we could "reunite" our U18 players from previous years and take a women's team as well - and the prospects for that look good.

What looks less good is the prospects for the Junior Nationals 7s in the future. Both it and the Senior Sevens still appear in the draft calendar for next season, but we saw this season how the failure of a senior tournament lead to the cancellation of its junior equivalent as well. Hopefully this will not happen in this case, but it is difficult to see how the senior tournament can be revived (certainly as an event at this time of year). The cost of running just a junior tournament on its own would be significantly higher than running it alongside an adult event - so at the very least the cost would go up. And the junior National 7s is already by far the most expensive tournament Letchworth RFC enters, for either boys or girls...

The loss of an official club sevens would be a wider problem. Over 80 countries play sevens while less than 30 play 15-a-side game. If rugby gets into the Olympics, sevens it will become the major format for international women's rugby. Apart from in England...

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