Rob Vickerman previews Saturday’s Singha 7s

Wednesday 27 July 2016 Written by: Adam

Writing exclusively for the club website, Vickerman’s tournament preview can be found below:

*Falcons fly the Singha 7s flag – By Rob Vickerman.*

Sevens has always had a strong presence in the North East, and everyone is hoping that can be seen this Saturday as the final leg of the Singha 7s hits Kingston Park before many of the world’s sporting fans get chance see the shortened version of the game at the Olympics. Notably, with Marcus Watson making his transition back into sevens from gracing the turf at Newcastle.

From a personal point of view it is always good to head back to KP. Whilst it is now more years ago than I care to remember, one thing that hasn’t changed is that there is an abundance of young players coming through that can use this tournament as a way of showcasing their abilities, such as with Callum Chick last year.

In the inaugural Premiership Sevens tournament in 2010, of which I was playing with the Falcons, the young lads coming through were the likes of Tom Catterick, Will Welch, Mark Wilson and Joel Hodgson, who were all able to use an intense playing environment to test their endeavours and put a marker down for the year to come. It didn’t go too badly for those four!

There may well be the next superstar in the ranks for this tournament who you will getting first sight of, highlighted last week by Exeter showcasing their team in 2012 with a notable backline including Henry Slade, Sam Hill and Jack Nowell. And the likes of Jonathon Joseph, Owen Farrell and Marland Yarde all readily utilised the tournament as a way of showing coaches that they had what it takes to make the step up.

Confidence is something that can seep through a whole squad, and this format certainly can boost that element. The senior players no doubt will be watching, thinking about having to up their game as the next generation comes through thick and fast.

More recently, the last two legs last weekend showed some wonderful play over a very entertaining three hours.

The physical demand on the players is something seldom seen in rugby – not only having to play for a lung-busting 14 minute each game, but having to do it three times over the afternoon or evening.

As a spectator you get more rugby than you can imagine with the round-robin format relentless in action. Skill sets are challenged, as is mental toughness, but the games have been providing nail-biting entertainment through to the last minute. Throw in the fact the surface at KP lends itself to a fluent, quick tempo style of game then I am sure we will all get to see the highlights of the game that sevens brings so often.

The flair, ball-in-hand play, not forgetting the big hits that make the crowd shudder – it has it all. And it will be great to see Kingston Park absorbing every minute of it.

* *Saturday’s Singha 7s starts at 3pm and sees the Falcons pooled with Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers in round-robin action. The top two teams on the day will progress through to the finals at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Sunday August 7.
Tickets for Saturday’s event at Kingston Park aree available priced £20 for premium seating, £10 for standard seating and £5 for under-16s. A ‘sevens heaven’ deal is also available for £100 which includes seven standard tickets plus 7 x £10 vouchers to be redeemed on the day against food, drink, merchandise or programmes.
Falcons season ticket members are entitled to two free tickets for the Singha 7s, which must be claimed by 1pm on Friday by calling 0871 226 6060 or visiting the ticket office in person prior to the deadline. Season ticket members turning up on match day without having reserved their free tickets will have to pay to get in.
Supporters driving northbound to the tournament are advised to allow extra time for their journey due to lane closures on the A1 over Blaydon bridge, or to seek alternative routes.**