Former British and Irish Lions player and current Leicester Tigers captain Tom Youngs praises Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club for Greene King IPA 7s tournament and tips England for the World Cup in Japan
Leicester Tigers captain Tom Young was the star guest at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club's Greene King IPA 7s tournament yesterday and took time out from mingling with the crowd at the Haberden to speak to the Bury Free Press.
He was highly impressed with the standard of the tournament this year, particularly with the inaugural Elite Women's competition, won by Samurai RFC, and the atmosphere created by the estimated 1500 crowd that attended on Sunday.
The centre-turned-hooker, who has 28 England caps, accumulated between 2012 to 2015, praised the facilities at the fourth tier club and said he very much got the feeling that they are 'going places'.
He also talked up England's chances of winning the World Cup in Japan, with his brother Ben set to be a key figure. To watch the full interview, click on the player below.
The 11th staging of the tournament saw Akuma Hurricanes - who finished third in their debut season in the Super Sevens Series after an amalgamation of The Rugby Agents and Akuma - lift the Men's Elite trophy for the first time after a thrilling grand final. 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.
With Bury's tournament the first on the Super Sevens Series, it sees them steal a march on their opponents heading into the second of four rounds.
The Plate competition, for teams finishing third across the four pools, was won by Guildford Bears after a last-minute winning try in their final with Birmingham-based college rugby-drawn side Stunts.
Leicester Tigers, who were a big draw for fans on the day, with fellow Premiership sides Northampton Saints and Saracens not able to send sides as previously advertised due to other commitments, did not make it through the pool stages and were knocked out in the Plate.
It was also a disappointing tournament for last year's defeated finalists and five-time winners Samurai, whose home ground is listed as Bury's Haberden. The side originally formed by Bury's performance director Terry Sands in 1996, who continues to have an active role as chairman of selectors, were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the main competition. They were coached on the day by Bury St Edmunds' head coach Nick Wakley.
The Bury Barbarians side, led by first XV coach Craig Burrows, gave home fans a chance to see Tui Uru in action one last time before departing to play for Northampton Saints, a move announced in February.
The side found the step up from the Open (amateur) competition, not included this year, to the Elite Men's, coming bottom of Pool D – which included both of the finalists and a Student Select team coached by England 7s Academy coach and former England 7s player John Brake. They saw their chance of picking up a prize extinguished in the Bowl semi-final stage, having won their quarter-final.
The Player of The Tournament in the men's section was awarded to Akuma Hurricanes' Ratu 'Api' Bauadra.
* For reaction to the tournament, Shawn Pearce's best pictures and a full round-up, see Friday's Bury Free Press.