Tournament director Terry Sands delighted to see new name on the trophy at the 11th Greene King IPA7s event
Despite his affiliation to Samurai, Terry Sands was delighted to see a new name carry off the top title at the 11th Greene King IPA 7s tournament.
Neither five-time winners Samurai nor Premiership giants Leicester Tigers made it past the quarter-finals of this year’s event, evidence tournament director Sands points to for the standard having increased as his prediction last week.
Akuma Hurricanes – who finished third in their debut season in the Super Sevens Series after an amalgamation of The Rugby Agents and Akuma – went on to receive the Men’s Elite trophy from Leicester Tigers captain Tom Youngs, the tournament’s celebrity guest, after a thrilling grand final with series debutants Speranza22.
The side who play in bright pink and black kits came from 14-0 down against Dubai side Speranza22 (14-7 at half-time) to win 24-17 to steal a march on their opponents heading into the second of four rounds.
Sands, also the chairman of selectors and founding figure for Samurai, said: “Samurai went out in the quarter-final but I think that is a good thing. Even though it hurts a little bit, as it is like our home event, I think it is great for the tournament that the landscape is changing.”
He felt the introduction of an Elite Women’s event for the first time at Bury, and on the Super Sevens Series, was a success, with Samura RFC winning the final of the five-team tournament with a 24-10 final victory against Scimitar Storm, from Loughborough University.
“It went reasonably well and I think the women’s tournament will grow and get bigger and bigger,” he said.
Bury St Edmunds chairman David Reid felt the standard of the women’s tournament was one of the standout successes of the day.
“I think that has been quite a surprise for a lot of people in terms of that quality,” he said.
He also felt England hooker Youngs had been a great star guest as he spent the afternoon signing autographs, shirts and posing for selfies as well as staying on to present all the trophies.
With the showers having held off, though still an unseasonably cold day, Reid declared himself pleased to have had a ‘reasonable turnout in the circumstances’, with estimates at 1,500 – not too far off the 2,000 high.
Leicester Tigers centre Matt Smith was involved in coaching the club’s team along with former England player Dusty Hare. But they ended the day empty handed after being knocked out of the Elite Plate semi-final by eventual winners Guildford Bears.
Mark Bright, who recently hit 150 games for London Scottish, was part of the Sumari team and one of a number of Championship players showcasing their sevens talents.
The Elite Bowl, for teams who finished bottom of their four-team pool, saw the Bury Barbairans side managed by Wolfpack first XV coach Craig Burrows, lose 33-17 to eventual winners Stunts in the semi-final.
The Player of The Tournament in the men’s section was awarded to Akuma Hurricanes’ Ratu ‘Api’ Bauadra.
Sands said the event, not a big money maker for the club with the costs involved in staging it, had also drawn in international referees who are using it as a development tour for the world circuit.