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Sevens' expansion plan key plank in bid to win the battle of the west

Top prize … Tatafu Polota-Nau, left, and Dave Dennis flank ARU chief executive Bill Pulver with the Tom Richards Trophy that is up for grabs when the British and  Irish Lions tour this year.

Top prize … Tatafu Polota-Nau, left, and Dave Dennis flank ARU chief executive Bill Pulver with the Tom Richards Trophy that is up for grabs when the British and Irish Lions tour this year. Photo: Destination NSW/Anna Kucera

 SEVENS rugby will be played by schoolchildren and juniors across the country in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics under a plan in development at the ARU.

ARU chief Bill Pulver said he believed the seven-a-side format was the sport's best hope for expansion in Australia, and would be a key weapon in clawing back territory ceded to rugby league and AFL in western Sydney during the past decade.

''From a high strategic level, challenge No.1 is for us to get back some of the support base that may have strayed over the last couple years, and part of that is in the west and part of that is outside the west, that's priority No.1,'' Pulver said at an announcement before the first general release of tickets for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in June.

''In terms of geographical expansion of the game, I think Sevens is a perfect vehicle for that ,and the west will be a very important part of that. I'm looking for a plan that will have a more comprehensive schools, juniors, club, state level and national level Sevens program.

''That obviously requires investment and will take time to put in place, but we want the same level of competition and rigour in sevens ultimately that we have in the 15s game.''

The Australian men's Sevens side struggles to hold on to the players it develops when Super Rugby sides begin circling.

It has affected coach Mick O'Connor's ability to field a consistent side round to round in the Sevens world series. The women's Sevens team is ranked No.2 in the world but both sides face threats from non-traditional rugby countries ploughing resources into the sport in the lead-up to its introduction at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Pulver also moved to reassure the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions of their positions after the ARU's Premier Rugby Taskforce Review, which revealed the extent of the financial difficulties facing the majority of clubs.

''The premier rugby competition in both Sydney and Brisbane is enormously important to the game; that's the bedrock of the development of the great talent we eventually get up at the Wallabies level,'' Pulver said.

''It's enormously important that we support them in their endeavour to get that competition moving forward but I'm just not sure what the answers are at this point, and I think it's important for the ARU to sit and listen to their view first rather than simply prescribe solutions.''

Meanwhile, the ARU forecast a sell-out when British and Irish Lions tickets go on general sale at 9am on Monday.

This follows a limited release to members of the ARU Rugby Community a fortnight ago that resulted in the allocation being exhausted in just a few hours.

Tickets to Test matches range from $95 to $295, while tickets to the midweek games between the Lions and Super Rugby sides, as well as a combined Country side, start at $10 for children and $20 for adults.

 

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CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
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BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
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BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
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HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
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BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
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BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
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SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
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FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
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CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
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Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
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LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
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LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
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FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
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LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
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RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
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STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
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Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
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