After the announcement of the first of its kind UR7a-side series (a non-contact form of 7s Rugby) we found time to sit down with Former England 7s Rugby player and Cape Townian Mat Turner to discuss the event and why he has got behind the new concept.
In the interview Mat talks about why he thinks this is a great concept, why he has got behind the concept and why thinks you should all get involved whether be it playing or just coming down to enjoy the action.
UR7s SA: Mat thank you for sitting down with us, lets get right into this, What do you think of our new take on the rugby 7s with the UR7a-sde Concept?
Mat: As soon as you guys explained the concept to me my eyes light up, you had basically taken all of my favourite parts about 7s rugby and designed a whole concept around them, as a 7s player my game was all about avoiding the contact where possible and giving attacking players the outside so I could make nice side tackles, so basically take and make the least amount impacts and direct collisions as possible. One thing that is going to be interesting to see is how teams use their subs as the game will be fast paced and fitness is going to be a real factor.
UR7s SA: Its interesting that you bring fitness up, (Check out Rugby7s FIT here) how much of an impact does fitness levels have in the 7s game?
Mat: Fitness is 50% of the game of 7s, if you cant be in the right place at the right time within your team structure etc you might as well not be out on the field, the speed of the breakdowns are so fast the getting back into defensive lines and most importantly the support lines in attack are so crucial to the success of your team that if you aren't fit enough you will constantly expose your fellow players not only yourself.
With the new concept it is going to be interesting to see how much fitness will effect the level of play as well as the different styles the teams will adopt.
UR7s SA: That last answer takes us seamlessly into our next question, What sort of styles of play do you think the teams will in your words “adopt” out on the field?
Mat: I think what will be great is we will see various of different styles or in some cases patterns depending on what your lingo is. Off the top of my head I would say teams coming from a touch back ground will look to move the ball around a little more with them using a more old school and tradition wide wide pattern, to get teams moving around then using their feet to expose gaps in the middle they would have hopefully created, but teams coming from a 15s rugby will maybe look to be more structured with “hit” up points with a few short runners out the back moves.
This all being said there is no wrong or right way to play so what im excited about is to see what players and teams come up with as it is a new concept and as im sure you guys will agree its all about expressing yourself as a player and just to have a great time with team mates and meeting new people who are interested in the game of rugby as a whole.
Ur7s SA: Great stuff, last question. Who do you think should enter the UR7a-side Series? Is there a particular person that should enter?
Mat: Listen when it comes to sporting events especially non contact sporting events, there really isn't a particular person, yes there will be times when there will be mismatches on the field but trust me they even happen at an international level as well (Mat was rounded by Carlin Isles twice in one game) as long as you enter to play hard, get the fitness benefits, walk off the field with a smile on your face and ultimately have a great time every time you are on the field whether you won or lost then you are the right person in my eyes because come finals day the the top 4 from each league will play each other and the bottom 4 from each league will play each other, Which should even out the playing field.
UR7s SA: Mat thank you very much for sitting down with us, really appreciate your time and we are looking forward to having you involved with our new concept UR7a-side
Mat: Always a pleasure, maybe I ll even be out on the field
Two different regional series will running simultaneously one being based out in Stellenbosch and the other based in Cape Town Area, with Cape Town starting on the March 6th and Stellenbosch starting the 8th of March. With a big finals day being played on the 8th of April.
Sign up here - www.ur7aside.co.za