Supporters can get closer to the action at Murrayfield next month in new standing sections created for this season’s Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens – the final leg of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
While the seven-a-side players play on a full-size pitch, the in-goal area will be resized to enable fans to get closer to the high-octane series’ finale, having visited Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Australia and London, en route to the home of Scottish rugby.
Former British Lion, Scotland and Scotland 7s internationalist, Scott Hastings, was unveiled as event ambassador at the tournament launch and expressed his delight at the appointment.
He said: “Sevens is a great excuse for a party – the seating is unrestricted, the music’s loud and the outfits are even louder. It’s a very social event with so much happening and some great opportunities for the best dressed fans to be invited onto the international pitch and compete for some fantastic prizes and have a good time.
“The game of rugby sevens, in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and recently recognised with inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games, delivers high performance drama, excitement and unpredictability, so the marriage of the action on the pitch and fun elements off it make for a superb day out for families, party goers and committed rugby fans alike.”
Tickets for this fast and furious festival of rugby are on sale now and are priced at just £5 for under-18s, £10 for students and senior citizens and £20 for adults (£10 if you buy an adult ticket for Scotland’s EMC Tests against Ireland and Italy in August – also just £10!) – that’s two days of pulsating rugby for just £20!
All sevens tickets are ANY DAY tickets – valid for one day of your choice, either Saturday 28 May or Sunday 29 May.
Last season’s Edinburgh Sevens Plate winners Scotland have been handed a tough assignment in Pool D and face Pacific Islanders and renowned sevens specialists Samoa and Fiji, as well as Series regulars USA on day one, with their performances on the day determining their opponents in the knockout rounds the next day (Sunday).
Last season the Scots performed heroics on home soil, beating Fiji, Wales and the USA before trumping both South Africa and Argentina on day two to win the silver platter.
Scotland 7s head coach, and former Scotland internationalist, Graham Shiel, said: “The physicality and skill brought by the current Series champions Samoa, and Fiji, world famous for their sevens talents, is well-documented so these matches are a chance for us to put a marker down and perform for Scotland with the nation’s backing at Murrayfield.
“The crowd’s a huge factor at the Edinburgh Sevens. It’s a real party occasion. The players are very professional and fully focused on their performance but it’s important to enjoy the environment, especially at Murrayfield in front of a vocal home crowd wiling you on.”
More than 1100 participants have already signed up to play in the event’s youth festival on the back pitches which means that the whole stadium grounds, inside and out, will be taken over by the fun atmosphere of international sevens.
With six tournaments played so far New Zealand currently top the standings, 13 points clear of England in second place. Samoa are third, South Africa fourth and Fiji fifth.
As a result of their position and current form, back-to-back winners in Hong Kong and Australia, New Zealand top the seeds in Edinburgh and head Pool A, where they face Argentina and European duo, Russia and France.
One week after their home event at Twickenham, England will line up at Murrayfield in an all-European pool with matches against Adelaide Plate winners Wales and Iberian neighbours Portugal and Spain.
Pool C is headed by resurgent South Africa, winners at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas and fourth in the World Series. The Boks face sixth-ranked Australia, Kenya and Canada, who won five of their six matches in Hong Kong to win the Bowl trophy.
“This year’s HSBC Sevens World Series has provided superb competition and a celebration of international Rugby from the start, as we all continue to build towards the Olympic Games in 2016,” said IRB Sevens Manager, Beth Coalter.
“All 30 nations who have competed this season have added something different and brought a vibrancy to the action as the overall standard at the tournaments continues to improve and entertain.
“While New Zealand are out there 13 points clear at the moment, in sevens nothing is guaranteed so I’m sure we can all look forward to the destiny of the entire Series coming down to the final few games at Murrayfield.”
For the fifth year, EventScotland, the national events agency is supporting the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland, with its rich history in rugby, is the perfect stage to host the final tournament of this year’s IRB Sevens Series and we are delighted to be supporting it once again.
“The two-day competition generates a strong media impact and also attracts many visitors from outwith Edinburgh and Scotland. They get to enjoy all the rugby action at a world-class event while experiencing some Scottish hospitality and getting a taste of what else Scotland has to offer.”
EMIRATES AIRLINE EDINBURGH SEVENS DAY ONE (POOLS STAGE), Saturday 28 May
Pool A: New Zealand, Argentina, Russia, France
Pool B: England, Wales, Portugal, Spain
Pool C: South Africa, Australia, Canada, Kenya
Pool D: Samoa, Fiji, USA, Scotland
First tie: New Zealand v Russia (10.30am)
Fiji v Scotland (kick-off 1.04pm)
Samoa v Scotland (kick-off 3.48pm)
Scotland v USA (7.11pm)
Last tie: Scotland v USA (kick-off 7.11pm)
EMIRATES AIRLINE EDINBURGH SEVENS DAY TWO (KNOCKOUT ROUNDS), Sunday 29 May
The day two knockout rounds will be determined by the teams’ performances on day one
First tie: Bowl quarter-final (kick-off 10am)
Last tie: Cup final (kick-off 5.36pm)
EMIRATES AIRLINE LONDON SEVENS – POOLS (Saturday 21 May)
Pool A: New Zealand, Wales, Kenya, Spain
Pool B: England, Argentina, USA, France
Pool C: Samoa, Australia, Scotland, Canada
Pool D: South Africa, Fiji, Russia, Portugal
2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series schedule
London, England – 21-22 May 2011
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – 28-29 MAY 2011