Friday, July 11, 2014

SFGG Getting Ready For Limerick 7s

The World Club 7s have expanded this year to include a leg in Limerick. That leg coincides with the Club 7s Nationals in the U.S. meaning that the team that qualified through the Elite City 7s would likely be missing most of their players. That is where SFGG steps in. As participants at last year's World Club 7s the club is a well-known quantity to the World Club 7s organizers. So when Limerick needed another American team for Limerick SFGG stepped up. We talked with Club Director Bruce Thomas about the invitation, the team's plans, and more.

TIAR: How did your invitation to play in the Limerick 7s come about?

Bruce Thomas: Having been lucky enough to be invited to the World Club 7s in London last year and performing okay to good over the weekend we established some notoriety, respect, followers and connections. When the WC7s organizers were looking to introduce the Limerick leg of the tournament they specifically wanted two American teams and based on 2013 in London; we were given the first right of refusal as the second American team alongside NY.

Take the jump to read more.
TIAR: Will you be taking a 'San Francisco' team or will it purely be SFGG?

BT: This is 100% SFGG Rugby. We are going as our Club; this is the World Club 7s and we will be competing in the some vain as the other Clubs attending. That does not mean we will not be looking at potential recruits, but we will be using the opportunity as a recruitment tool i.e. if a player is given the opportunity to come and play in Limerick they will be committing to SFGG for the following 15’s season. These opportunities are few and far between and we must leverage them for both their on-field and off field benefits.

TIAR: Any chance you are supplemented by Eagles?

BT: This is yet to be decided but it has been discussed. Related to the above question if we do look to supplement the team with Eagles – we would preferably like to get guys who have a history or affiliation to SFGG to reinforce that Club based foundation to the squad.

TIAR: Getting to Ireland must be challenging. What kind of support have you received from your club's main contributors?

BT: The World Club 7s tournaments are fully funded for all teams invited to attend. Flights, accommodation, meals, transport, everything is paid for; making these invites truly spectacular opportunities. That being said, for a team like SFGG it is very much a David and Goliath challenge; SFGG Rugby remains to be a fundamentally amateur Club adhering to professional standards.

We still have to source funding to get the guys in the right gear/kit and looking appropriate for the environment. Canterbury North America is an integral Club sponsor and they provide a great service that allows us to ‘look the part & play the part’ in these professional environments.

Heading into the tournament you don't know a lot about your opponents. Does that change your preparation?

BT: What we do know is that they will be many levels up from what the team has been exposed to so far in the NorCal Qualifiers. We are lucky to have a pool of players with considerable experience of playing at a much higher standard. Some if not most of those guys will be heading to Limerick and sometimes any amount of extra training cannot replace long standing experience.

However – we have just entered the last 30 day period before the tournament, the coaching staff will now be developing an idea of who is getting on the plane and in doing so turning up the intensity of training as we look to replicate the pace of the WC7s games.

TIAR: In your eyes what would be a successful tournament?

BT: We have had multiple conversations within the Club about what our goals are for the weekend. Are we going there with the intention to win? Or are we going there with the intention to do the best we can? The Club wide consensus has been that if we go with the intention to win, surely the result will be, we do the best we can.

A successful tournament would see the side play some great 7s rugby, score some great tries and hopefully in doing so the results will take care of themselves.

TIAR: How is participating in tournaments like this helping the overall vision of the club?

BT: These tournaments are so much more than just the rugby played over the two days. They are huge opportunities for the Club to continue to grow its brand and present itself in front of a vast rugby audience and show not only what SFGG is about but what American Club rugby is capable of. How often will American rugby fans get to see an American Club team and its players in the same room, on the same field and the same environment as teams like the NSW Warathas, Munster and Saracens?

It continues to solidify American rugby’s presence on the International stage and in conjunction with the growing emergence of American players in Europe and elsewhere – it forms a very powerful promotional opportunity for American Rugby & SFGG Rugby.

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