Aspenite named coach of national `Sevens’ rugby team |

Aspenite named coach of national `Sevens’ rugby team

Aspenite Tommy Smith has been chosen to coach USA Rugby’s national seven-man rugby team.

Smith was hired Friday to guide the Berkeley-based Sevens team, which is scheduled to play in 10 international tournaments around the world in the next year. He’s a member of the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club, and is membership sales manager for The Aspen Club.

The team’s first international tournament is the first week of December, in Dubai. Each of the tournaments involves national teams from 24 countries.

Seven-man rugby is a very fast game, compared to the more common 15-man game. Games are only 14 minutes, with two seven-minute halves.

Smith said because it’s so fast, seven-man rugby is very media-friendly and marketable. He said typically in the tournaments, audiences see eight national teams on the field in one hour.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is one of USA Rugby’s sponsors, Smith said, and one benefit of that arrangement is that the club has an agreement with Murdoch’s Fox television network.

Smith said he has a number of goals for the team. He would like to host an international tournament in Aspen, perhaps as soon as next summer. He also has his sights set on doing well in a rugby World Cup event in 2001 in Uruguay.

But the big goal, he said, is to win the gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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