Allowing players to switch nationalities for Rio 2016 has opened a can of worms similar to ‘Grannygate’ saga.
The shortest games can sometimes cause the biggest stirs. Twenty20 has transformed the landscape of cricket. Nobody could ever have imagined its impact, especially as India, creators of the monster that is the Indian Premier League with its reach-all tentacles, did not even like the game at first.
Now it seems that in rugby union sevens could be creating a few ripples. It is certainly a game that is very much in the spotlight, after its roaring success at the Commonwealth Games and the increasing interest in the World Club Sevens at Twickenham this weekend. So too the Premiership Sevens, with the presence of the four Welsh regions as further evidence of their burgeoning relationship with Premiership Rugby.
The Newport Gwent Dragons even made last Friday’s final at the Twickenham Stoop. I might have been up in Manchester covering the cricket between England and India, but I knew all about the Dragons’ efforts (ultimately falling to Gloucester) as I was having dinner with Huw Bevan, England’s strength and conditioning coach, whose last Test it will be this week at the Oval before joining the Dragons full-time as their high-performance director.
The Commonwealth Games crowds were fantastic, and some of the rugby was fantastic too, even if its quality has engendered much debate. Watching the matches it was hard not to ask how those on display might fare against the best 15-a-side players parachuted into the shorter game.
I have heard the argument that the sevens specialists would always prevail. These players make up the teams on the World Sevens circuit throughout the year, but the truth is that they cannot command contracts at the top level in the 15-a-side game.