Champagne, rugby, banter and a fair few tinnies. If one was to sum up St Andrews Rugby 7s, these words would be the first to spring to mind. Whether you’re a player or spectator, the Rugby 7s tournament guarantees a good day out. This year saw the Steven Sims Cavaliers and Melrose Ladies triumph in the men’s and women’s competitions.
As a fresher, I didn’t really know what to expect from the weekend but its fair to say that it didn’t disappoint. It begins early on the Saturday with teams from all over the country arriving in appropriately rash and colourful strips, with most players nursing a potent hangover. Once registered, teams usually get together to see what fixtures the day has to offer and the first games see most shaking off the cobwebs and working out the kinks as teams prepare for a full-on day of 7s. Every team plays a minimum of four games before they enter into either the Plate or the Cup competitions, where the tournament becomes a knock-out affair. The Plate games are very entertaining to both play in and watch as players throw caution to the wind, opting for a more ‘loose’ style of play; its considered a disappointing game if the least coordinated player on the field doesn’t try some outrageous offload or kick. As for the Cup, the games are equally entertaining but for a different reason, as teams fight tooth and nail for the win. But, as the day goes on, it becomes apparent that the Rugby isn’t really the point of Rugby 7s – strange, I know.
What St Andrews Rugby 7s is really about is having a good time in the sun with your friends whether you’re a first team flyer, a boozer first and rugby player second, or a spectator. Indeed, without the spectators the weekend wouldn’t be the same. They provide a good buzz across the whole event, someone to hang out with in between games, and of course the more than occasional drink.
The tournament starts to wind down at around 6 pm, but the Rugby 7s experience is far from over with the notorious after party still to come. This year saw the latter’s long awaited return to Kinkell Byre, where a great night is had by all.
So, save the date in your diary for next year. With absolute certainty: you won’t regret it.