Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Darlington Is Braced for Fun of the Rugby 7s Fair

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Darlington Is Braced for Fun of the Rugby 7s Fair

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith Twitter: @markismith50

WITH Olympic status and sold-out stands for the Commonwealth Games, rugby sevens is a game on the rise. Darlington will get a slice of the pie this evening when the Premiership Rugby 7s comes to town.

Moved to the Northern Echo Arena due to Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park pitch not being ready, the largest dedicated club rugby ground in England will welcome sides from Leicester Tigers, London Welsh and Sale Sharks in a televised feast of round-robin action.

The top two sides on the night will push through to next Friday's finals in London, Falcons' coach Mark Laycock insisting the simplified format and breakneck scoring speed provide an ideal entry point into the game for non-rugby aficionados.

"The Premiership 7s is a major event now and has grown year on year," said Laycock, the Newcastle academy director who has gone largely with youth for the event won by Newcastle back in 2011.

"A few of the guys were at the Commonwealth Games last weekend and said the atmosphere was amazing, so hopefully some of the Premiership stuff will follow on from that.

"More and more people are wanting to get involved with sevens and it is easy to see why.

"It is fast, there are plenty of tries and lots going on around the game, so it is a great starting platform for people who are perhaps not familiar with or too interested in the laws or complexity of 15s.

"It is a much more simplified version of the game which is easy to understandand there is all the razzmatazz which surrounds the action.

"Anyone who goes to watch will be in for a treat and for newcomers to rugby it is a fantastic way to have a taste of the game.

"Plan A was to have it at Kingston Park, but moving it to Darlington opens up a whole new audience for the club.

"The arena down there is a fantastic venue which people will enjoy and, as nice as it would have been to christen our new pitch at Kingston Park, everyone is looking forward to getting down to Darlo. …

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