Gavin Hastings: Sevens rugby will be ‘spectacle’
FORMER Scotland rugby captain Gavin Hastings has predicted that rugby sevens will become one of the “spectacles” of the Commonwealth Games.
He was speaking the day before the weekend-long competition kicks off at Ibrox stadium.
Scotland will face New Zealand, who have a 100 per cent record of claiming Commonwealth gold in the event, in their opening match tomorrow afternoon.
A total of 45 games will be played across two days of competition as 16 teams strive to win gold.
Rugby sevens was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games programme at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and has now featured four times.
The sport will make its debut at the Olympics in Brazil in 2016.
Hastings, who is also the first chieftain of the Athletes’ Village, said: “I’m very much looking forward to the sevens competition at Ibrox stadium over the weekend.
“I do know there are a number of serious challenges going to be coming New Zealand’s way and I do think the rugby sevens will prove to be one of the great spectacles of the Commonwealth Games. I, for one, am very much looking forward to it.”
Speaking about sevens becoming an Olympic sport, he added: “Clearly there will be a British team in the Olympics in Rio in two years’ time and that’s a very interesting dynamic I think because obviously players from Wales, Scotland and England are wanting to showcase their own individual talents ahead of any selection.”
He added: “I think rugby sevens is set to grow massively around the world and clearly the Commonwealth Games has been a wonderful boost.
“It’s drawing massive, massive crowds over four sessions and there will be north of 175,000 people watching the rugby this weekend, and that’s unquestionably the biggest audience that will have watched rugby in Scotland over a weekend, and I think that is fantastic.
“For people who don’t know enough about sevens, every team is going to be on show at every stage of the competition.
“There’s a saying in sevens rugby when you go along that if you’re not enjoying it, you can always turn round and watch the rugby because it’s synonymous with people enjoying themselves, having a party atmosphere.
“I know that given the nature of the crowd that they will be in for a fantastic weekend of rugby.”