IRB Sevens- Anyone in beatable- ANYONE!
If you ever needed inspiration that big teams can be beaten, then watching the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup in Dubai is it in a nutshell.
Teams from all around the globe converged on the world’s biggest man made playground- Dubai. From the moment you walk through the airport, you know you are in an amazing place, they have taken the “you have your cake and eat it too” theory to a new height- then raised it again.
Seeing what Dubai has become out of plain sand is remarkable, the players competing were staying in the plushest 6 star surroundings and Wales in particular liked it. This unreal amazement of how did they do that, is in everything they build in marvelous Dubai. This wonder rubbed off on the small teams. From living in the unbelievable, they thought hang on a minute why can’t we dream too & be world champions? And they did!
IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai was the biggest international Sevens Tournament ever, with 40 teams from 31 nations competing for the ultimate prize in Rugby Sevens.
Joining the traditional 24-team men’s event for the first time was a 16-team women’s event and after three days and 98 matches of compelling action Wales won the men’s event, the Melrose Cup, while Australia were crowned inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens champions.
At RWC Sevens 2009, the first major surprise happened in the opening quarterfinal when Wales upset defending IRB Sevens World Series champions New Zealand. This shock was followed up in quick succession by Samoa defeating England, Argentina beating Fiji and Kenya defeating World Champions Fiji in the remaining quarterfinals. Incredibly, none of the
pre-tournament favourites had reached the semi-finals, while the semi finalists represented four continents, underlining the truly global stature of the sport.
The two men’s finalists (Wales and Argentina) were not high- scoring teams. In fact, their average points scored put them fourteenth and fifteenth of the 24 teams. However, when it came to defence and conceding points, they were first and third respectively and this ability to restrict opponents from scoring. So in short, the best defence cam up trumps.
The IRB has had statisticians crunch numbers to see why? And how this was possible? The beauty is the x factor is always immeasurable, but in the numbers are some very very interesting results. Below are all based on the men’s results, the woman’s rugby was even more scintillating and they will feature in a story soon.
The numbers and how they spoke.
318 the number of tries scored tries
0 penalty or drop goals scored
122 the number of tries scored under the sticks
58 the percentage of tries Wales scored from attacks launched in their own half
32 % of tries scored started from a penalty of free kick
83 % percent of conversions were successful by England
42 % by Wales, 4th last of all teams.
25 Average points per game in men’s comp
6 average tries per games
59 % of conversions were successful
68 passes per game
15 rucks & mauls per game
77 % of the time the ball was retained
5 average amount of kicks per game
79 % of restarts were short kicks
34 % of these kicks that were retained
4 scrums per game
3 line out per game
49 the amount of seconds needed for NZ and England to score on average
Wales averaged 80 seconds
174 the amount of seconds it took for people to score against argentina9 the best defence of all.
68 passes per match
119 highest passing match
39 lowest passing match
1 the number of Welsh fans that thought it was possible before the RWC started
Looking back with complete wisdom and foresight which is only possible at fulltime. Many teams rocked up and thought they were in the hunt to be World Champs, reality is though that in a knock-out tourneyment if you are off your game for a wee bit, you are toast. On the other side of it seeing the growth of Wales over the 3 days, the look in their eyes and the drive to get up off the ground again and chase somebody else was amazing. At the semi final stage it was Wales that took command. With a tiresome turnaround period after a gruelling semi final, they came out firing and firing more. Samoa looked fantastic against England, but in the Semi they were a bit flat battery.
Wales on the other hand looked stronger as it went on, it was evident that the self believe was there and they were enjoying this world stage and wonted to prove a point or two. The telling blow was there last try, their man took the ball out of a ruck and had the guts to have a crack on the blindside, this oldest of rugby moves is always a goodie, especially when it wins you the world cup in the process.
Wales take a bow, enjoy every pat on the back, every drink that is given and every grin you see in your life, you deserve it all.
Now the IRB Sevens Series moves to the conclussion in London and the land of kilts, if this year has been anything to go by we can expect a few more surprising results.