5 Reasons To Watch The Central Coast Sevens

18 November 2015
Read Time: 2.6 mins

Rugby sevens is on the rise, poised for a massive leap in Australia when our national teams compete for Olympic gold at Rio next year.

Last weekend, The Thunderbolts (men's) qualified for the Olympics with a dominant 50-0 final victory over Tonga at the Oceania qualifier.

Yet instead of Bernard Foley, David Pocock and Israel Folau, Australia will be represented by the likes of Ed Jenkins, James Stannard and Tom Cusack in the men's, and Sharni Williams, Ellia Green and Brooke Walker in the women's.

 Australia's Tom Cusack breaks the line against a strong German outfit (Image: Central Coast 7s)

Take note of these names and those of their teammates. Olympic success could bring some players the kind of national recognition and fame usually reserved for our swimmers.

By all appearances, they have a real shot at playing deep into the competition. I recently watched Australia compete against teams from around the world at the Central Coast Sevens tournament in New South Wales where both the men's and women's sides took out their respective cups.

The Central Coast tournament remains one of the best to see the spread of rugby sevens talent across Australia and the world. Here are five more reasons you shouldn't miss the next one.

1. Running Rugby Never Left

Big on fast-paced running rugby, sevens is rugby's answer to cricket's Twenty20 competition when it comes to flashy entertainment.

With only seven players on the field and seven minutes each half, teams are more likely to use speed, flashy passing and other aggressive attacking techniques to get across the try line.

This creates a far more exhilarating rugby spectacle than most union games, which have fallen prey to dull back-and-forth kicking.

The Central Coast Sevens displays this open, everything-on-the-line style better than most, with many players still working hard to impress coaches and make squads.

 A hard-fought semi between NZ7s Development and Tabadamu provides plenty of excitement (Image: Ben Stower)

2. The Game Played Around The Globe

One weekend at the Central Coast is enough to realise how widespread sevens has become, watching teams from Germany, USA, New Zealand, Canada, Fiji, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

The biggest surprise in 2015 was Germany, a country not typically associated with rugby, which fell to Australia's development side in the Boot Final 27-12.

Outside of the Rugby World Cup, fans of Australian rugby union are limited to a small sampling of international teams, while sevens showcases its world-wide prowess during regular tournaments each year.

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 New Zealand's women's development side attacks Australia's try line at the 2015 Central Coast 7s (Image: Ben Stower)

3. Women's Rugby

Although some sports have evened the playing field for men and women, rugby still remains a male-dominated affair fuelled by media and uninformed social ideology.

Anyone who has seen a game of women's sevens knows they hit as hard, run as fast and play with as much skill as the men.

At the Central Coast Sevens I witnessed textbook rib rattlers, precise cut-out passing and lengthy breakaway tries all before the men took to the pitch. The tournament celebrated the skills of the female players and the crowd loved it, hollering and cheering as loud for the women as the men.

The rest of world might not have realised it, but there will be no denying the prowess of our female rugby stars come Rio in 2016.

4. Entertainment For The Dragalongs

Not everyone can sit through hours of rugby, no matter how thrilling. At the Central Coast Sevens you don't have to, thanks to a range of additional entertainment.

Mascots and carnival games keep the kids happy, while adults can experience the enriching culture of didgeridoo playing, Fijian singing or the imposing Haka.

Food is readily available with well-stocked exhibitors selling everything from hamburgers and hotdogs, to Pacific Island cuisine and ice cream. There are also giveaways for kids at a number of promotional stands.

 A pre-game didgeridoo performance (Image: ian@computerian.net)

5. Future Stars

With a dedicated talent identification scheme, the Central Coast values high-level youth competition along with invitational development squads.

Spectators at this year's tournament were able to watch the future of women's rugby sevens in action as the Australian 7's Development team, comprised of multiple under-18 players, topped Fijiana in the quarter finals.

Next year's competition will see the addition of a youth tournament featuring a number of under-17 teams with a focus on developing future State, National and Olympic programs for emerging players.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to NSW's Central Coast.

Ben Stower

I love the kind of travelling that is one part strategic planning and two parts spontaneous adventure. Whether I'm exploring my local city or a small town in the middle of nowhere, I'm always hoping to find something no one else has discovered.