Umm, well

England wing Dan Norton breaks Rugby Sevens try scoring record in Hong Kong – and he’s only 29

7 s has only been a serious international thing for a bit so someone’s got to have the record – and this is the lifetime try record being talked about. And 29 is not exactly young for either a wing or a 7 s player either.

I mean yes, well done, certainly better than anything I’m likely to do but still. We are rather like having a list of top try scorers in the Calcutta Cup in 1890 or so. Early days that is.

13 comments on “Umm, well

  1. “…certainly better than anything I’m likely to do but still”

    ‘likely to do’ Tim? So you’re saying not impossible?

  2. The key word there is “anything”. Obviously I’m not going to become the world leading try scorer in international 7s. But you never know, I might write a decent article or two one day…..

  3. The ‘World Sevens Series’ began in 1999 so I’d say it’s been going for longer than ‘a bit’.

    And it’s not as if Dan only had to score half a dozen tries to be the leading try scorer, he’s scored 244.

    And I suspect the reference to “only 29” is that he has a few more years left in him yet to add to that total not that he’s young to have scored that many.

    And even at the end of the 1890s, the Calcutta cup would have involved maybe 20 or so matches. There are players who have appeared in 60+ tournaments, so maybe 300+ games and Dan isn’t in the highest appearance list of players so what he’s done, he’s done comparatively quickly.

    So, Tim, stop commenting on 7s like Murphy comments on tax, economics, sociology, history, politics etc etc

  4. Agree with Andrew C. It’s a great achievement and he’s a great player. Not only is he lightning quick, but he has magnificent skills with hand and foot and a keen rugby brain.

    Sevens has not been fully professional for his whole career but it has been competitive.

  5. In days of yore 7s was a stepping stone to XV game. Now a circuit on its own.

    So kudos, but how many tries would Jonah Lomu have scored if he’s stayed in 7s, stayed fit, etc?

  6. The problem with 7s is that any Rugby League team of equivalent level would absolutely smash a union side, as happened several times when somebody was dim enough to invite an RL side along. Picking seven players from the Aussie RL team would give you a side that no union side could get near. So what you’re watching is very much second best due to the best side not actually playing the sport. XVs is very much different.

  7. Tim N,

    Twenty years ago maybe. Today not so much. Outside of Australia, there’s more money in Union, and money attracts talent and encourages professionalism. If you re-ran the famous 90s Bath v Wigan experiment now, say Saracens against Leeds, you’d likely see the opposite result – Sarries would lose narrowly at League and smash Leeds to pieces at Union, whereas that great Wigan side ran the mighty Bath respectably close on their own ground and stuck 80 points on them up north.

    I’m not speaking out of bias, I appreciate both equally, but IMHO League has stood still while Union has caught up and surpassed. In Europe for sure. I will concede Australia is a different kettle of eels, although I suspect the trend is the same if less pronounced.

    Top 14 in France is where the biggest rugby money is right now.

  8. @Tim/Corvus

    I’m with Corvus here, Tim. The RL match-ups you referred to were all back in 1996, with union having gone pro less than a year before and with 7s still seen as an end of season fun thing for the XV-a-side players.

    The size and fitness of modern union players bears no comparison. The average weight of an England team player increased by 12.8kg (that’s 2 stone+ in old money) between 1994 and 2014 and I suspect their body fat % went down!

    As for 7s, it’s now a specialist game, played on a pro circuit by pro players. I suspect if the full England XV union squad put out a 7s team they’d struggle to beat any of the current core 16 teams on the world 7s circuit. If the current GB league XIII team put out a 7s team they’d struggle to beat a tier 2 team.

    (Bath beat Wigan 44-19 at Twickenham. They were 25-0 up at half time and had been warned by the referee to ‘take it easy’ in the set pieces).

  9. Oh…also suspect the current Australia 7s union team would thrash any RL Aussie 7s.

    As for the current world sevens series leaders (South Africa), they have won 5 of the 7 tournaments so far this year (England the other 2, beating the Blitzbokke in both finals).

    I’d pile up every penny I own that they would beat an Aussie RL 7s team.

  10. Don’t know anything about Rugby (which is why I ask), but last time I was in HK around sevens time, there were lots of burly hairy blokes wandering around dressed as cheerleaders, Japanese schoolgirls, and the like.

    Is that just a sevens thing or more generally Rugby type behaviour?

  11. I find it remarkable that Professional 7s even exists. 16 team tournaments must mean around 200 players and staff need incomes, flights and accommodation paid for. There’s a qualifier the week earlier in HK and a women’s tournament too. Stadium capacity around 40,000 – not sure if it fills or not, and what gate receipts are, but it can’t compete with the receipts of a full Twickenham where tickets are £45+ to see fewer players who are getting paid again a week later by their clubs.
    Good luck to the organisers though, assuming they are not fleecing taxpayers

  12. Stone the crows, I’ve just searched and all 3 days are apparently sold out. Sat and Sun tickets go for around £75. There’s a ballot for HK residents. Clearly an incentive for touting as some people are getting tickets at below market price.
    Cathay Pacific and HSBC putting up a lot of money too.

  13. I’m with Corvus here, Tim. The RL match-ups you referred to were all back in 1996, with union having gone pro less than a year before and with 7s still seen as an end of season fun thing for the XV-a-side players.

    The 7s ones were much later, mid ’00s.

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