England and Saracens star set for Greene King IPA Bury St Edmunds Sevens tournament

Andy Gomarsall

Andy Gomarsall

Saracens and England star Billy Vunipola and former 2003 World Cup-winning squad member Andy Gormarsall MBE are heading to Bury St Edmunds RUFC for the annual Greene King IPA International Sevens tournament, this weekend.

Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola - Credit: PA WIRE

The tournament, now in its sixth year, has a packed line-up of premiership clubs and international sides, with the latest high profile team wanting a piece of the action being Premiership giants Sale, home to Danny Ciprani.

Joining them, in what is set to be the most competitive tournament to date are premiership clubs Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers (to be coached by Jordan Murphy), Worcester, whilst international sides hoping to scoop the title are Irish exiles (Ireland B team), Nigeria, and Belgium.

The tournament, which is sponsored by Bury-based brewer Greene King IPA, will be held on May 4 and will feature 12 teams within its Elite competition, an eight-side Open competition for local teams including Bury’s invitational side the Wolverines and, for the first time, a four team showcase Women’s sevens tournament.

As in previous years, the standard of rugby will be high with several of the top specialist 7s sides featuring international players from around the globe, such Samurai Barracudas, Apache and Welsh Charitables hoping to steal the coveted title.

“In just five years the Greene King IPA 7s has developed a reputation as one of the best Sevens tournaments on the circuit and this is once again demonstrated by the incredible line up of teams entered featuring some of the best 7s players in the country”, said Mike Robinson, Bury St Edmunds RUFC’s Club Chairman.

“Last year we welcomed over 2500 spectators to the ground and we are confident, weather permitting, to beat that record this year. It’s an opportunity for sports fans to watch some of the top players in the 7s game right here in East Anglia.

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“With 7s now to be an Olympic sport for the first time, its popularity has grown phenomenally over the last few years. The Road to Rio starts here in Bury, with the tournament giving the perfect opportunity for the big teams to field newer players destined to be the stars of Rio or of their premiership clubs in the years ahead”, continued Robinson.

Alongside the tournament, the club will once again be hosting a beer festival throughout the weekend kicking off on Friday 2nd May from 7pm.

In addition to the introduction of the Women’s tournament, another new attraction for 2014, will be adopting the Sevens tradition of encouraging spectators to don fancy dress to win a prize for the best outfit.

Commenting Michael Robinson said, “Of course anything goes when it comes to the fancy dress, but we’re sure plenty of people will take their cue from the date, ‘May the 4th be with you!’ and coming along in a Stars Wars theme.

“The atmosphere during the 7s every year is always electric. It’s a great family day out, but with the added dynamic of a fancy dress competition, it should be great fun for all ages.”

Confirmed line-up of Elite competitors:

Northampton Saints; Leicester Tigers; Sale; Samurai Barracudas; Apache; Irish Exiles; Worcester; Welsh Charitables; Esher; Ramblin Jesters; Nigeria; Belgium

Entrance for the event, which includes food, drink and merchandise stalls, children’s play activities and family friendly competitions are £10 per adult, £5 for U15s and free for Under 5, with discounts for members of the Armed Forces.

Visitors can pay at the gate on the day. which opens from 9.30am, with the first match at 10.00am

For the latest information on this event visit www.bserufc.co.uk

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