“Our field is BIGGER, Our Halves are LONGER, Our Cuts are DEEPER,Our Traditions are OLDER, But Our Weaknesses FEWER.”
The last game of Rugby at the Olympics was in 1924 and saw USA beat the hosts France by a score of 17-3 and that lead to a pitch invasion by the french fans. The french team aided by the police somehow protected the USA national team from the eyre of the French fans and that marred the end of the association of the Rugby Union with the olympics as the olympic committee looked for more individual sports to be included, till 2016 when we will see the sport back on the greatest stage.
William web Ellis (inventor of Rugby) would be happy if he heard his game coming back to the Olympics after 92 years. Last whistle for Rugby in Olympic was on 18th may, 1924 and now after 92 years International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to add Rugby sevens as Olympic sport for 2016 Olympics on 9th October 2009.
Rugby sevens is making its debut in summer Olympics Rio 2016. A variant of Rugby union which has the rules tweaked a little to speed up the game. One of the major changes is that it is played with a smaller squad of seven members (on field) in comparison the the Rugby unions squad size of 15 with matches being shorter. Rugby sevens was originated in Melrose in 1883.
Even though Rugby Union was resurrected in 1823, it got globalised after 1995. 129 years after World Rugby, a council to overlook Rugby football was formed. From then World Rugby has been making several effort to make the game globalised. It has in its charter 100 member unions and 17 associate member unions. Current report says that New-Zealand, who is a member of world Rugby since 1949 is ranked first with 93.70 points. India which is affiliated by World Rugby as its member on 2001 stands in 69th rank with 39.07 points. The role of the associate members has been equaly important in uplifting the status of the sport as the role of the member nations with tournaments organised very frequently.
This rise of status could not go unnoticed by the IOC and they included Rugby Sevens to its list of sports to be played at the Rio Olympics. In Its preparation the IOC has planned to conduct different tournaments to qualify both men’s and women’s teams for Rio 2016. As a host nation Brazil men’s and women’s team will be in Rugby Sevens roaster automatically.
Being fast, exciting and free flowing, Rugby has its true values – Discipline, Integrity, Passion, Respect and Solidarity. Moreover it has a passionate fan following who are known to be a very vibrant lot. “Obviously the world cup is pretty significant, but I think it would make the game hugely global” said Richie McCaw, New Zealand Captain on Olympic 2016.
Picking up Rugby in Olympics Rio’ 16 probably raises a lot of hope. The adrenaline rush stops only after the 500 days of wait. Though there is not very big forum for publicizing the sport, the growing popularity comes in part from its exposure in Olympics. Rugby has truly come full circle by coming back to the mammoth stage of the Olympics. it is this stage will act as a key to a new level of Popularity & Success to Rugby.