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Inside Look: Bournemouth 7s Festival

Roger Woodall, founder of B7s

In preparation for next month’s Bournemouth Sevens Rugby Festival (“B7s”), we interviewed Roger Woodall, Director of Diamond Sporting Groups, to get an inside look into how he started the Festival (he re-mortgaged his house!), how his rugby career has helped him in business and his predictions for the tournaments. We even got an inside scoop!

B7s is an event unlike any other. Not only are there a high-caliber of athletes competing in the rugby sevens, but it is a great weekend full of music and great entertainment.

If you would like FREE weekend passes to the Festival courtesy of FindRugbyNow, check out our Offers Page and win yours today – you have only a few days left to win tickets!

Did we mention that they have a Pitch-Side jacuzzi, Red Bull Lounge and a Parachute Display?

QHow (and when) did the B7s start and what was the vision behind the event? How many teams and individuals did you have attending when you started and how many do you have now?

In 2007 I decided to start B7s after realising there was a niche is the events market for a sports and music festival in the UK, and after visiting Dubai Sevens for many years I believed it would be highly successful. In it’s first year we had over 12,000 people in attendance, and last year over 20,000 attended and over 300 teams competed.

QDo you think having a mixture of sports, music and alcohol (a JagerBomb Bar?) detracts from the focus on rugby, netball, etc. to make the Festival more of a social rather than a competitive tournament atmosphere?

No! Having a mixture of netball, touch rugby, rugby sevens and music adds huge value as our guests play hard and party hard. Check out our video from last year here:

QAre there any particularly strong men’s and women’s sevens sides in attendance? Who were the winners from last year and will they be back to defend their title?

On the men’s side, Army won for the last two years in a row. Bath Rugby and Esther both have a very strong team, and the Rugby Lions have Ben Gollings the record point scorer playing for them. On the women’s side, the competitions will see the Welsh and Irish premier invitation sevens teams competing against last year’s winners the Moody Cows, who boast a number of England International players.

QCan you tell us about your rugby background? Do you think your experience as a player translates into you making good decisions for B7s?

I played for WASPs U19, Loughborough University and Leicester Tigers retiring at age 23 to set up a business. Yes, you have to make decisions on your feet in rugby and it’s the same in business.

    Bournemouth 7s Last year

QCan you tell us something that most people don’t know about B7s?

I had to re-mortgage my house in the festivals first year and risk everything.

QWhat does the future hold for B7s? Will you be expanding to other cities in England?

The future is to keep improving the festival and create an amazing experience. Other cities…we’ve got our eyes on Cardiff (FYI this is a scoop).

QWhat do you think will be the most exciting part about the weekend? What performances and surprises can we expect?

Always seeing the outrageous fancy dress. There are lots of surprises up our sleeves…you will have to come and see.

QWhere will you be celebrating at B7s (the Pitch-Side Jacuzzi, VIP Tent or Karaoke Tent)?

Everyone celebrates in all the areas whether it be in the Pitch-Side Jacuzzi, Red Bull Players Lounge, Nintendo Festival Stage, watching the Black Knights Parachute Display Team or the Animal Bike Tour, playing in the Kids Zone – where under 10s Go Free, or with celebs and International rugby stars in the sold out VIP Arena and V.VIP Celebrity Lounge. The Bournemouth Sevens Team and I will be very busy all weekend ensuring that all our guests are celebrating.

About Ellaine

Ellaine is the founder of FRN and author of "Mini and Youth Rugby: Complete Guide for Coaches and Parents" (published October 2015). She has been playing rugby union for over 10 years in the UK and the US for teams including Oxford University Blues, London Wasps, Henley, NOVA, and GWU. She has recently developed a love for rugby 7s and has played on several international rugby 7s teams. She also enjoys playing touch rugby and regularly plays for the FRN Mixed Touch Rugby team. She is passionate about helping others develop a love for rugby. View all posts by Ellaine

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