Bar raised for Bury’s 7s
Terry Sands believes the standard on show at Sunday’s Greene King IPA 7s at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club ‘has gone right up’, after dropping the amateur competition to focus on the elite sides.
A top-level women’s competition is included in this year’s Super Sevens Series, of which Bury hosts the first of four tournaments across the UK this summer, for the first time.
The six-team tournament will kick off the day’s action at the GK IPA Haberden at 10am and run alongside a 16-team men’s elite competition, which will feature 12 Super Seven Series sides and four guest teams.
The latter includes Leicester Tigers and respected touring side Welsh Crawshays, but Northampton Saints and last year’s Bury winners Saracens will not be sending sides as originally advertised, due to other commitments.
Samurai RFC – whose home ground is listed as the Haberden and whose founder Sands is Bury’s pro-am performance director – will be hoping to take advantage of that to re-claim their crown. The side defeated by Saracens in last year’s final have won five of the 10 tournaments held in Bury.
But Sands said it will still be a tough challenge for Bury’s head coach Nick Wakley, who will be in charge of Samurai on the day, and could even face Bury St Edmunds’ guest side in the knockout stages.
“I think the standard this year has gone right up,” said Sands, who is chairman of selectors for Samurai.
“We have got a Fijian side (Marlborough Compeed 7s) and a side based in Dubai
“(Speranza22) are in it this year as well as England Students and a side from Nigeria (Nigeria Exiles).
“Two or three England boys who are coming back from injury are going to use the event to get game time ahead of the Twickenham Sevens (HSBC London 7s on May 25-26) as well.”
He believes the women’s competition will be a great addition to the day.
“There will be a good sprinkling of high level women playing with quite a few from Premiership sides such as Saracens and Gloucester Hartpury, which is exciting,” he said.
He revealed the Samurai Women’s team is set to include two England players.
Wymondham are set to represent the region as a guest side with Bury St Edmunds Foxes’ promotion-winning team having not entered a side.
Loughborough Lightning, who play in the top tier of the 15s, are also included.
Leicester Tigers and England hooker Tom Youngs is set to sign autographs and pose for selifes as celebrity guest, while Sands said ex-Harlequins and England player Jordan Turner-Hall is also set to attend.
Bury St Edmunds’ men’s side will be captained by new Wolfpack signing Tanner Lightfoot, who recently joined the club from Western Province in South Africa.
The team will be coached by club coach Craig Burrows with Ben Leng and Mike Stanway also part of the squad as they make the move up from the open (amateur) to elite tournaments.
The competition will run as four pools of four with the top two from each qualifying for the quarter-finals. The bottom two sides will then play in the plate competition. The grand men’s final usually takes place around 6pm.
Once again the event will include entertainment for children and plenty of refreshments, including a beer festival. Adult tickets are priced at £13.50 while under-16s are £5 and family tickets £30.
More by this authorRussell Claydon