Current Saracens Strength and Conditioner and ex-England Sevens star Kevin Barrett believes the JP Morgan 7s has become a “huge” event in the rugby calender, as the traditional preseason sevens tournament draws closer.
“I think the JP Morgan 7s is huge, you can see that in the players teams are picking to play in it and I think it can give a team a perfect springboard for the rest of the season” explained the 2011 JP Morgan 7s player of the season.
“It can send out a message to opposing clubs that you are fit, strong and raring to go – To win it really would be quite something; you can lay down a marker at such an early stage of the season as a player and as a club.”
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Barrett captained England Sevens during his playing days in a career that saw the quicksilver scrumhalf play for Exeter Chiefs and Saracens. The 33 year-old sevens expert believes players of the fifteen a-side format will be tempted to be involved in sevens with the sport making a debut in the upcoming Rio Olympics in 2016.
“I think sevens has become a game in its own right” Barrett claims.
“It is becoming even more popular around the globe and the recent London Sevens attracted a record crowd of any sevens event ever staged, so it just shows that it has a viable future as a sport.
He added; “Sevens is great to see players taking on one another, beating players one-on-one and obviously seeing defences put under pressure – you miss a tackle then a try is usually the resultin this game”.
“So I think there is a huge attraction that sevens can offer fans of rugby and those who aren’t necessarily familiar with game as well and building up to the Olympics, you may potentially see some of the 15-a-sides household names looking at sevens and maybe thinking that they want to play on the Olympic stage”.