It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken
The switch from the boozy Hong Kong leg of the World 7s to the kids-centric and family-friendly Singapore 7s couldn’t provide greater contrast. And Singapore 7s has an added dimension this year – that of potential Olympic qualification.
The first guaranteed top-four finish of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series is likely to be secured in Singapore – and with it comes with it the prize of guaranteed Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Remarkably, Tier 2 rugby nation the United States continues to surprise and sit proudly at the top of the World Series standings. But the bigger names or World Rugby are queuing up behind.
Last year’s Singapore victors Fiji are probably once again favourites, and again off the back of a win in Hong Kong. Australia, the surprise package and finalists in Singapore last year are struggling this time round. But they weren’t heavily fancied last time and that lack of pressure may give them freedom to play.
Along with the growing profiles and list of stars associated with current 7s rugby, some real legends of the game will have boots on the ground in the Lion City.
This year will see DJ Forbes, Waisale Servi, Huriana Manuel and George Gregan all in Singapore as World 7s Ambassadors.
And during 7s week, rugby clinics spring up across the island, which is great news for many kids and young players. Unfortunately, these clinics are often held in partnership with the usual suspects and a tick box exercise rather than creative effort to share experience across all corners of junior rugby in Singapore.
Music goes hand in hand with 7s rugby. Last year Singapore reached the dizzy heights of the Village People – one of my personal favourites. Yet, despite them being free this weekend, I’ve checked, they haven’t made it back on the 2019 play list.
But of all the peculiarities of the 7s circus there is one event that has stuck out as an absolute must attend for me.
Ireland Men’s 7s might have to wait another year before we see them in action in Singapore, but a former teammate of mine – and Ireland’s greatest ever player – Brian O’Driscoll is participating in a Rugby/Badminton cross over event on Saturday morning. And to be clear it’s the racquet sport not the horse trials.
In a week that has seen Christian Wade successfully make the switch from rugby to the Buffalo Bills and American Football, I’m genuinely curious as to whether we are going to see badminton players dip their toes in rugby, or Bod maybe transition to badminton.
Badminton is huge in Asia, whilst Irish badminton has underachieved over many years. Just as he was the catalyst for Irish rugby success, I think Brian might well be the man to give Irish racquet sports the lift they need. I’m looking forward to seeing if he knows his frying pan grip from his Danish wipe -because I don’t for sure.
Beer is the Danish national drink, and the Danish national weakness is another beer.
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