Does The ARU Look To Rugby League Players To Win A Gold Medal?

Rightly or wrongly, a variant of a sport was added to the Olympic Games recently when the IOC decided to add Rugby Union Sevens to their program.

The move was a big boost for the IRB, who have spent a lot of money to get into the Olympics, which has included making up teams in far away places and played an international Rugby Union 7’s competition around the world which even Rugby Union types don’t follow or care about.

Still, they got what they wanted through hard work and investment, can’t knock them for that!

I personally think Rugby Union 7’s is a rubbish sport to play and watch. Its a gimmick, it is a tiny little part of a sport which gives no satisfaction at all.

Take the best part of a sport, beating a whole heap of defenders and scoring a run away try. Then take away the difficulty levels, the number of defender. Just because lots of trys are scored doesn’t make it exciting.

Its like having a Penalty Shootout competition is soccer. Sure, lots of goals would be scored and some amazing saves would happen, however it is all a false economy, it would be like watching paint dry.

Rugby Union Sevens is already part of the Commonwealth Games, and it has not really seen any flow on success from this. However with teams associated with the Olympic movement, with a greater national interest, and the performance of these teams linked directly to government funding, it makes you wonder how far Rugby Union Associations around the world will be willing to go to claim the gold.

The ARU finds itself in a very average position right now. With just four professional teams in Australia, and another on the way, there is hardly enough depth in the game and this is seen by the fact that all of the Super 14 teams in Australia are struggling.

Crowds are down at Super 14 levels and Test level and TV rations have been nothing short of diabolical. The NRL’s Pre Game shows and Under 20’s competition heavily out rated the Super 14 in Australia and even the A League Soccer competition finds itself with a lot more viewers than the Super 14.

On top of this, the traditional Rugby Union club competitions in Australia are all but dead, with a “Rugby” playing hot bed like Parramatta in danger of seeing its top club team fold all together.

With all this in mind, the ARU must be looking at any ways it can boost funding, and what better way than to establish a dominant Gold Medal winning Rugby Union Sevens team?

We have all seen what happens when Rugby League teams take on Rugby Union Sevens competitions.

From Wigan to Bradford, who both took part and crush their Rugby Union playing opposition in the English Rugby Union Sevens competitions, to the Queensland High School Rugby League team who went out of their way to not practice Rugby Union or look up the rules and Won The State Rugby Union Title, Rugby League players are teams seem to easily dominate Rugby Union Sevens competitions.

If the ARU wants to win an Olympic Gold medal and all the money that goes with that, surely they would have to look at inviting Rugby League players to take part in their team.

Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Michael Jennings, Jarryd Hayne. I don’t care what Rugby Union players you surround those four players with, you are winning the Gold Medal.

The ARU gets all the accolades, they get a MUCH higher profile in Australia for this team and their sport due to the inclusion of Rugby League stars, they get more funding, they get some sort of feel good factor about their sport, and hey, would it be a bad thing to have these great Rugby League players involved in the ARU system, making friends with players and officials and asking themselves, what if I tried the full scale version of this game?

Obviously that would be a problem for the NRL and the clubs these players are involved with. Considering the timing of the Olympics, insurance issues, the risk of injuries and the commercial issues involved in having your stars involved with a competitors product and sponsors, there would be major issues to overcome.

We have seen the NRL will not allow a player to sign a contract with an NRL club and then have an off season stint playing Rugby Union overseas, just ask Benji Marshall.

So is this idea dead in the water?

The ARU would need to find a way for Rugby League in Australia to embrace the Sevens team as part of itself. Would they be able to put their ego aside for that cause? I personally don’t think so.

I know many Rugby Union types would scream bloody murder at the idea of overlooking their own to throw a bunch of Mungos into their Olympic team, but that is what they need to do if they want to win.

Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Michael Jennings, Jarryd Hayne, Jamal Irdis, Brett Morris, Josh Morris. No one beats that team. That is Solid Gold you could take to the bank.

Would the AOC pressure the ARU to be lenient and allow Rugby League players to be selected? Would the NRL in any way allow players to be released for a week long Rugby Union Sevens competition?

A low of questions would be thrown up, but it all comes back to the one question that would be above all else.

Do you want a guaranteed Gold Medal for Australia in the Rugby Union Sevens?


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