WHILE our attention is being directed toward Super Rugby and the up-coming British and Irish Lions' series, there is a very important rugby competition going on over in Scotland.
It's the penultimate tournament of the men's HSBC World Sevens Series, where New Zealand is closing in on an astonishing 11th series win.
Sevens - the fast, more open and globally competitive version of rugby, is an Olympic sport.
As a result, sevens is a very important marketing tool, and a component of rugby's competitive advantage over other contact team sports.
AFL and rugby league, for example, cannot provide this opportunity.
I could call sevens the sleeping giant, but much is happening in the background (comparatively speaking to 15s) to ensure rugby leverages this valuable opportunity to the fullest.
Resources are being marshalled and directed to the code, not only in the strong rugby nations, but many, many others.
As Sevens will appear in the 2016 Rio Olympics, many countries such as China, Georgia, the USA and Russia have included it into their official schools sporting systems.
The International Rugby Board has expanded the Men's HSBC World Sevens Series to 10 locations, with the inclusion of Tokyo and Argentina in 2011.
It has created the IRB World Women's Sevens Series which hits exotic locations, Dubai, China, USA and the Netherlands.
Domestically, nations are rationalising and packaging their sevens tournaments into national sevens series.
England, Kenya, Australia and NZ, for example, have strong domestic sevens circuits.
In fact, the Kenyan Sevens Series has been going strong for more than years.
Although there is much to do, the future for sevens rugby looks promising.
Getting back to the Scottish leg of the men's HSBC World Sevens Series, it offered up another reason why I like sevens, and why it will penetrate many non-traditional rugby markets, and that's that any nation can beat the other.
Very much like T20 cricket, on any given day, the under-dog will have the win.
In sevens rugby, China is as much a chance to beat Fiji, as the Aussies or the Kiwis are.
In Scotland, for example, on day one, the USA beat France, and Canada beat Samoa.
What a weekend
HAVEN'T we been delivered some quality Super Rugby this season.
As I've mentioned before, the British and Irish Lions' tour this year to Australia has galvanised all in the code, most importantly the players and coaches.
Add the always entertaining and competitive Kiwi teams, and the erratic South Africans, and we have ourselves a really top quality competition.
From Friday night's Blues v Stormers' game to Sunday afternoon's Brumbies v Crusaders' clash, it was compelling rugby.
Keep it coming, boys.
And I can't wait for the British and Irish Lions to hit our shores.
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