With the Premiership season now well underway and the weather worsening, summer sevens rugby now seems to be nothing more than a distant memory for rugby players and fans alike.
Broughton Park is ready to host the City of Manchester 7's
However, there is already excitement building within the English and British circuit this week, with the announcement of a ‘new tournament on the block’ for 2014: The City of Manchester 7’s.
Early reports are claiming that the tournament is going to be ‘the Bournemouth of the North’.
The festival will take place between the 9th and 11th of May, 2014, at Broughton Park Rugby Club in Manchester, and will consist of Rugby sevens tournaments, netball tournaments and lacrosse tournaments; all of which will have an open and elite competition.
Combined with the different sports on offer throughout each day, the festival will also have live music, combining local talent and well-known names; parties, games areas, camping, hospitality and plenty of food and drink.
The festival is hoping to attract players and clubs from all over the country, with, reportedly, a number of big-name teams already queuing up to take part.
Talking Rugby Union spoke to Festival director Rob Jones of Broughton Park, who added that "We are looking to get around 16 teams to take part in the elite competition. These will then be split up into 4 groups of 4 teams on the first day, which will then filter into their respective semi-finals and finals on the festival’s second day."
The festival will be held at Rob’s club: Broughton Park, which will act as a fantastic venue for the inaugural event.
“Broughton Park is a brilliant club and is going to work perfectly as the home of the City of Manchester 7’s festival.
“The club has hosted sevens festivals before with great success, and this year we are looking to make the atmosphere, sport and experience even better than ever before with the newly announced tournament.
“Broughton Park is located just away from the city centre, so it’s really easy to get to. We have a huge amount of space for all the sports, stages, tents, catering and places to camp.
“The club really is a great venue for rugby events and a sevens festival in particular”. Rob added to this, after a meeting with one of the 2015 Rugby World Cup directors, Andrew Cosslett, that “Broughton Park is hoping to be used as a training ground for one of the nations”, when the Webb Ellis trophy is competed for on home soil in exactly two years’ time.
“Also, the Kangaroos – the Australian national Rugby League team – are going to be using Broughton Park as a training facility for three weeks in November during the Rugby League World Cup that begins in just over a month’s time.
“And, finally,” Rob added, “we have pretty much confirmed that Broughton Park will be used as an official match ground for the 2016 Junior Rugby World Cup; with temporary stands being put in place for the event.”
Rob, who currently works as a property developer in Manchester, also coaches Manchester Metropolitan University’s men’s Rugby team, having already worked as a rugby development officer in Canada.
Rob also has an impressive playing career behind him, having played for Northumbria University; Blaydon in National 1 and Broughton Park. However, Rob unfortunately suffered a terrible snapped ankle injury which, combined with a number of operations, brought an abrupt end to his playing days.
“Yeah, I’ve been really hampered with injuries for a fair few years now,” Rob explained, “I’m now focussing much more on my coaching and, recently, the creation of the City of Manchester 7’s Festival.
“I’ve been working very closely with the local council, who are keen to make the event as big as possible – it should be a massive event!”
In addition to the rugby, the festival will also host both netball and lacrosse competitions. Rob added that they “already have a few netball teams confirmed for the tournament, and the whole event has only been created in the last two weeks.”
The City of Manchester 7’s festival is sure to be an enormous event on the rugby sevens circuit. Teams from all over Britain will be competing in the tournament for an impressive grand prize of two and a half thousand pounds for the winning side.
Although the festival is only in its very early stages, it already promises to be a great event for both rugby players and fans alike; to enjoy the sport, music and party atmosphere.
Talking Rugby Union will be keeping a close eye on the how plans for the festival progress over the winter before the sevens season begins again next summer.
The early signs, however, all look extremely promising.
Watch this space…