Big names highlight rugby tournament at Swangard
Ben Gollings and Waisale Serevi are the greatest players the sport of Rugby Sevens have ever seen.
They’ve fought ferociously against each other at many a tournament and World Cup. England vs. Fiji have had some epic battles all over the globe in places as far flung as Australia and Dubai. They hated each other on the field. Off it they’d share a brew or two.
But they’ve never played on the same team. Until Saturday.
That’s when they suited up for the Seattle-based Serevi Selects in the Vancouver International Rugby 7s tournament at Swangard Stadium.
Serevi had the record as the all-time points scorer in the sport’s history with 1,310 points in international play. That was until Gollings blew by Severi, just like he does with opponents on the field, in 2005 and he has now accumulated 2,652 points.
A few months ago, Serevi’s company called Gollings and asked him if he’d like to play with Serevi, and he said, “Sure.”
“I’ve never been to Vancouver, I’ve never been to Canada and I thought it was a great opportunity to see somewhere new and something different. I’m looking forward to having a run around,” said Gollings as he sat next to Serevi at a press conference podium last Thursday. “We don’t sit like this together.
“He was my idol growing up. We’ve been waiting for over a decade to play with each other.”
The tournament featured eight men’s teams and four women’s. As it turned out, Serevi was disqualified from the final for using an ineligible player in their semifinal win over South Seas after Edmonton protested. Edmonton went on to slam South Seas 62-7 in the final. The Serevi Selects defeated Victoria Velox 36-0 in the women’s final.
Standard rugby has 15 players going at it for 80 minutes. Its much slimmer cousin, rugby sevens, has seven-minute halves, except the final which has 10-minute halves.
“For me I used to feel it was a bit of a release for me from the 15-player game. It shows the skills I have. I get to express all of them on the sevens pitch,” said Gollings. “[Rugby players] forget how fit of an athlete you have to be to play sevens.
“I dare anybody to go out there and say it looks easy and then go out and play it. It’s high intensity stuff.”
With the International Olympic Committee approving rugby sevens for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it’s hoped the tournament will help to raise the profile of the sport in Canada.