Bury St Edmunds' sevens tournament to kick off Super Sevens Series

PACKED OUT: Crowds enjoying the action from the hill during the 2014 tournament, which was played out on a baking hot day.   Picture: Roger Arbon
PACKED OUT: Crowds enjoying the action from the hill during the 2014 tournament, which was played out on a baking hot day. Picture: Roger Arbon
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The biggest tournament of its kind in East Anglia this year - Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club's Greene King IPA Sevens tournament - has been given the accolade of doubling up as the first event in the 2017 Super Sevens Series.

The annual sevens extravaganza, which the Suffolk club have confirmed will take place on Sunday, May 7 this year, will attract even bigger attention in the rugby world this year, as it will become the first tournament in the 2017 Super Sevens Series.

FULL THROTTLE: The likes of Leicester Tigers and Samurai (both pictured going head to head at Bury previously) are set to grace The Haberden once again this year

FULL THROTTLE: The likes of Leicester Tigers and Samurai (both pictured going head to head at Bury previously) are set to grace The Haberden once again this year

The event, which is now in its ninth year, is once again expected to draw in thousands of rugby fans to watch national teams and specialist 7s squads go head-to-head to scoop the £7,000 prize money and winner's title.

Both England and Ireland (IRFU) 7s teams are once again expected to compete alongside Premiership sides Northampton Saints and Saracens.

The Samurai teams will be hoping for a repeat performance of last year when they became winners and runners-up with Samurai International and Samurai Barracudas.

The high profile tournament, which is known for attracting some of the world’s best 7s teams to compete, has been selected as the kick-off tournament in this year’s Super Sevens Series of 7s rugby tournaments across the UK.

The four venues for this year’s series (www.supersevensseries.com) are the Greene King IPA Haberden, home of Bury St Edmunds RUFC, The Recreation Ground, home of Bath Rugby, Sixways Stadium, home of Worcester Warriors and Maidenhead Rugby Club.

As well as an Elite competition at Bury's event, there will be an Open Men’s Tournament, which will run concurrently and feature top local sides including from Bury themselves.

As in previous years, a sporting celebrity guest will join spectators on the day. Previous guests have included England players Andy Goode (last year), Chris Ashton, James Haskell, David Strettle, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley and Billy Vunipola.

Organisers say the 'family friendly day', sponsored by Greene King IPA, will once again be 'packed with activities and games for children, food and drink stalls including a hog roast, barbeque, a beer festival and merchandise stalls'.

Bury St Edmunds club chairman Mike Robinson said: “It hardly seems possible that the Greene King IPA Sevens Tournament is now in its ninth year.

"It has proven to be a huge success, drawing large crowds from all across the South and Midlands, as well as world-class 7s teams.

"Once again we welcome national squads from England and Ireland as well as top specialist 7s teams for a superb day of exhilarating fast-paced and talent-strewn rugby."

He added: “We are delighted and honoured that the tournament will be the start of the Super Sevens Series this year.

"Rugby 7s has become far more widely known and watched since it hit our TV screens in Rio (de Janiero 2016 Olympics) and we look forward to welcoming new fans of the sport for this great fun family day out.”

Gates are set to open from 9.30am and tickets are available on entry or in advance with early bird discounted tickets via the club's website www.bserufc.co.uk from a week tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7). Gate prices are £15 per adult, £5 for under-16s and free for under-5s.