In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, rugby returned to the Olympic program after 92 years. However, while in the 20th century, a team of 15 people fought for medals four times, now the “sevens” compete.
The seven-seater version is a smaller version of the classic rugby, which is why some consider it inferior. According to Andrei Kopet, the former coach of the Polish national team in both variants, the advantage of the “sevens” is greater liquidity of stocks and less complex rules.
“15+ dominates in terms of the number of players that develop this diversity and the interest of viewers, but I think there is a need for a version that showcases rugby not only for experts, but also for audiences of people who want to get to know the sport, but not necessarily at the complex level in terms of regulations, And it is rugby with 15 players, ”- he emphasized.
As he added, the beginnings of this smaller variety go back to the 1820s. There are many tales about the reasons for its creation, one of them even mentions the famous greed of the inhabitants of Scotland, which is considered the home of the “sevens”.
“I think the sporting aspect was also important. An important point in the history of this version of rugby was the famous Melrose Championship, which is still played regularly. Then there was the Hong Kong event where + Sevens + variety of rugby reigns, which is colorful and cheerful. The stands are full of beautiful women in hats ”- noted Cobbett.
He noted that the players in the “sevens” are not as diverse in terms of construction as in the competing teams in the classic variant.
“There are no massively built heavy columns, no big players from the second line. Here everyone should be quick, technically efficient and always, because playing three or four matches in one day is not easy to distribute forces correctly, “- he noted.
Rugby first entered the program in 1900. Only France, Great Britain and Germany were among the participants. At that time, the scoring system was slightly different from the current one, and “Tri-color” enjoyed victory. Their color, Constantin Henriquez de Zubira, is known to be the first dark-skinned athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
Eight years later, three teams entered the competition: Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and France. The latter resigned just before the start of the competition, so there was only one match in which the players of Australia won.
The tournament of 1920 was equally modest, in which France and the United States took part – after the withdrawal of Czechoslovakia and Romania. Rugby players from the United States enjoyed their success. Four years later, Romania joined the ranks. For the second time in a row, the gold was won by the Americans who defeated the “Tri-color” team in the final.
“The duel ended in a quarrel and the International Olympic Committee decided to exclude rugby from the program of games for a while” – reminded Cobbett.
The sport appeared in the form of an exhibition tournament at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Efforts to bring it back into the program were intensified again in the 1960s and 1980s. This was only achieved in 2009, when the International Olympic Committee decided that rugby representatives would compete for medals in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo 7.
In Brazil, 12 teams performed for men and the same number of women. It will be similar in Japan. Polish teams will be absent in both tournaments (PAP)