The Ireland national 7s team has signed up to compete in this year’s Greene King IPA Rugby Sevens tournament, pitting them head to head against the confirmed England squad. The IRFU (Ireland) are now investing in a full Rugby 7s development programme with qualification for the 2020 Olympics as a specific target, and they see competitions like Greene King IPA 7s as a vital part of that journey.
The tournament, seen as one of the premier UK 7s tournaments will take place at Bury St Edmunds RFC on Sunday 8th May 2016 and is widely expected to be one of key competitions for this summer’s Olympics GB team selectors.
Now it its 8th year, the tournament will once again operate three concurrent competitions; an Elite men’s tournament, an Open competition for the top amateur sides, and a Women’s tournament.
Elite teams confirmed to date are:
Apache Northampton Saints
Esher Newcastle Wailers
England 7s Samurai International
Barracudas Rambling Jesters
Ireland 7s Worcester
Teams competing in the Open men’s line up are Bury St Edmunds Barbarians, including many of Bury’s current N2 1XV squad, Bulldogs, Culford School, Royal Navy, Gandolf Saxons, Turf Cutters, Stunts, Essex University and Apache Braves, whilst Bury St Edmunds, Harwich, Woodbridge, FRN and Essex University make up the women’s tournament so far.
Last year’s winners Northampton Saints, who are being coached by former England full back Dusty Hare, will be returning to defend their title for the third successive year and battle for a slice of the £7000 prize money, presented to them by this year’s sporting celebrity guest. Previous guests have included England players Chris Ashton, James Haskell, David Strettle, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley and last year Billy Vunipola.
The family friendly day, sponsored by Greene King IPA, will once again be packed with activities and games for children, food and drink stalls including a hog roast, barbeque a beer festival and merchandise stalls. As is traditional for 7s rugby fancy dress theme applies and spectators are encouraged to dress up to win prizes.
“2016 Greene King IPA Sevens is set to be even more impressive than in previous years with two national squads already confirmed to play and heightened excitement for the sport ahead of its debut in the Rio Olympics this summer. Once again spectators will have the chance to meet a surprise rugby hero, just as they did last year when England and Saracens player Billy Vunipola joined us”, said Michael Robinson, Bury St Edmunds RUFC’s Club Chairman. “We have a phenomenal line up of teams and top talent taking part, some of whom will be playing for their places in the GB squad to go to the Olympics in August. Sevens Rugby is fast and exhilarating to watch, making it a superb spectator sport, and we look forward to welcoming many thousands of sports fans once again this year.”
Gates open from 9.30am with tickets available on entry or in advance with early bird discounted tickets via the clubs website www.bserufc.co.uk. Gate prices are £15 per adult, £5 for U16s and free for Under 5s.
For the latest information on this event visit www.bserufc.co.uk or follow the Greene King IPA7s Facebook page or twitter account @GKIPA7s.