By Russell Yeo
With the new Vodafone Super Rugby season underway the Foxtel Viva7s wave is once again gathering pace across Australia, nowhere more so than here in WA.
With more and more clubs setting up Viva7s competitions it’s proving a great way of attracting players - old and new, young and old, male and female - to our game.
What makes Viva7s unique is the way that it can bring players of all ages and abilities together on the pitch, making it the perfect family event.
A great example of this is to be found at Joondalup Brothers RUFC where one whole family has thrown themselves into the Viva7s fun.
Russell, who has played rugby since the age of 11, ending his career with a short stint in Joondalup’s Pindan Premier Grade team, is the only member of the family team with any previous rugby experience. His two children Ellie (6) and Seb (4), his partner Lisa and her two daughters Holly (16) and Amity (13) are all total newcomers.
“Ever since I’ve known Lisa she’s always told me how good her kids are at sport. I’d been missing having any involvement in rugby so I thought it looked perfect. And even though my kids are so little I’m keen for them to get involved in rugby too,” said Russell.
“We came down on the first night and really haven’t looked back. Having come from a cold and wet England at the end of 2013 with two toddlers, to now playing rugby on hot and sunny Friday evenings with all the kids and Lisa is amazing.”
Numbers have been growing at Joondalup week on week with now over 50 people turning up every Friday evening.
Organiser Chad Cappelli says the key to Viva7s’ popularity is the fact it’s so family orientated.
“Viva7s has been amazingly successful at Joondalup Brothers and it’s great that this season and last we’ve unearthed some promising talent especially among the female players. It’s actually allowed us to form a 15 a side Joondalup Sisters team for the first time this season,” he said.
Holly, who has scored a handful of tries at Viva7s, had never considered rugby as something she would like but is now thinking of playing non-contact rugby more and more.
“I’ve always been pretty good at running and am pretty fast – I think I get that from my dad. The rules are so simple so we’ve all been able to pick it up quickly and as it’s non-contact there’s no danger of being squashed. And no scrums means I’m not going to end up with a cauliflower ear!” she said.
With two games on two adjacent pitches and rolling subs the two hour sessions at Joondalup Brothers on Friday nights ensure everyone has worked up a good sweat by the time the whistle blows.
“Maybe I’m not as fast as I used to be - in fact my former team-mates might say I was never that fast – but just being involved in rugby of any sort is great,” said Russell.
“It’s the same camaraderie, sportsmanship and friendly welcome the world over. And it’s great to be able to show the kids what rugby can offer, get out in the fresh air and get fit at the same time.”
The Road Safety Western Force will celebrate families in rugby with a ‘Family Round’ for the team’s Round Seven clash with the Southern Kings at nib Stadium on Sunday, 9 April. In a special offer for the Family Round, buy one adult ticket in Blue Crew or Bronze and recieve up to three free junior tickets.
All patrons must have a valid ticket to enter the grounds. Free Junior tickets must be purchased at the same time an Adult ticket.
Free Junior tickets are available online only and will not be issued at the Gate. Get your tickets here.