The Palo Alto Summer 7’s Series has been in existence since 1972. On three Saturday’s every summer, Palo Alto becomes the premier rugby destination in California hosting up to forty two rugby teams for a full day of hard hitting rugby. The Palo Alto 7’s is the oldest continuous summer 7’s series in the USA.
The origins of rugby sevens can be likened to those of basketball: both were documented inventions, in the late 19th century, of people who never imagined they were creating sports that would not only endure, but be played worldwide. What James Naismith was to basketball, Ned Haig was to Sevens.
Ned Haig was born in 1858 in Jedburgh, in the part of Scotland known as the Borders, and moved to the neighboring town of Melrose where he became a playing member of the Melrose Football Club.
It was in 1883 that Haig devised a seven-a-side tournament to make money for his club. “Want of money.” he wrote later, “made us rack our brains as to what was to be done to keep the club from going to the wall, and the idea struck me that a football tournament might be attractive. But as it was hopeless to think of having several games in one afternoon with fifteen players on each side, the teams were reduced to seven men.”
The first seven-a-side rugby tournament was held in Melrose on April 28, 1883 . The seven team tournament was won by Melrose , who defeated Gala in overtime, one try to none.
How to play
7’s rugby is a 7 on 7 game of rugby that is broken down into 7 minute halves on a full size field. The same rules apply meaning that players and spectators alike enjoy a fierce physical competition without pads or blocking. The 7’s version of rugby is man to man, meaning that a missed tackle can result in a score. The fast paced nature of the game allows teams to play 5-10 matches per day. Speed, endurance, strength and skill play a major role in the outcome of every match.
Rugby is one of the largest growing sports in the United States . Many Universities field a rugby team and some Universities (UC Berkeley) have given their rugby programs varsity status. The International Rugby Board is working with the International Olympic Committee to make 7’s rugby an Olympic sport. The current IOC president, Jackes Rogge, played over ten times for the Belgium International Rugby team.