Young Canadians should play more rugby 7s

The faster pace game could help grow the sport in Canada

Kids participating in HSBC Rookie Rugby jamboree. Photo from Rugby Canada/Facebook
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By Steven Chang

Introducing rugby 7s to young Canadians could help grow the game of rugby, as well as keeping up with the level of competition around the world.

Rugby Canada has implemented The Rookie Rugby program that every provincial union across the country can apply to their teams and local clubs.

According to Rugby Canada, national participation registration has reached 30,000 as of 2019.

Rugby Canada has also committed to promoting rugby at the community level. Some initiatives include coaching sessions and conferences to ensure safe play for all ages.

The majority of rugby games in Canada are played in traditional 15s, meaning there are 15 players per side in an 80-minute match. Canada also has national 7s teams that compete yearly at HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The 7s game is slightly different with only seven players per side and a match only lasts two seven-minute halves.

Despite the growth of the sport, the level of the competition for men’s 15s hasn’t improved. Other developing rugby countries such as Georgia and Uruguay have significantly surpassed Canada in world rankings

For women’s 15s rugby, Canada has done a tremendous job at developing female rugby players. The senior women’s 15s team is currently ranked third in the world, just two spots behind New Zealand and England.

If Rugby Canada wants to grow the game and increase the level of play, it has to make the decision on whether it wants to focus on the 15s or 7s game. 

The 7s program in Canada are doing quite well internationally, both men’s and women’s team are able to compete with top-ranking teams.

As for youth development, rugby 7s is easier to organize and less technical for kids.

To fully understand rugby 15s is time consuming, kids will lose their interest in the sport. But rugby 7s still encompasses the same skill set from the traditional game. It’s just faster and players have more space to run.

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