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PUPS AT THE MIDDLESEX SEVENS


In 2010, the Pups finally gained national recognition when they received a last minute invitation to play on the grandest of stages on live television - at Twickenham in the prestigious Middlesex Sevens Despite being given only two weeks’ notice


to assemble a squad equipped to take on the Premiership big guns, the Pups exceeded all expectations, reaching the semi-finals of the Plate competition, where they lost narrowly to World Cup winners Wales! Their performances in the competition,


including a 30-point drubbing of Premiership outfit Leeds Carnegie, impressed the tournament organisers sufficiently to invite them back for this season’s showpiece. Last month’s Middlesex Sevens proved to be


the finest moment in the Pups’ short history to date. Unfancied and relatively unknown outside


of sevens circles beforehand, the Pups’ young squad, bolstered by their performances in the UK Sevens Series, including their first ever tournament victory in Bath just a few weeks before, stormed to the semi-finals of the main competition, playing a fast, aggressive brand of sevens rugby that delighted the 25,000-strong Twickenham crowd. Although they lost by the narrowest margins


in the semi-finals, 14-10, to a strong Esher side, the Pups had laid down a serious mark of their intent. The team’s success this season can be


attributed to their coaching staff, one of the strongest on the sevens circuit. Alex Natera, who is currently working for the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Bath and is


responsible for some of the UK’s leading athletes as they prepare for the Olympics in 2012, looks after the players’ conditioning, rest, recovery and nutrition, while Rhodri McAtee, former Newcastle flanker Jim Jenner, England Sevens’ Mark Odejobi, and team manager Drew Fautley, who has travelled the world with USA Sevens, provide a wealth of international sevens experience. It’s no wonder then that the Pups Rugby went


from 5th in the UK Series in 2010 to 2nd this year, breaking the stranglehold Samurai and The Army have had on the competition. Another area of growth for the Pups is with


sponsorship. With the 7s game looking towards the Olympics in 2016, companies are eager to support the game. The Pups have been very lucky to develop a relationship with two companies who not only financially support our aims to travel the world, but, are keen to work with us to develop our brand. Richard Reeves, Managing Director of SocialVibe (www.socialvibe.com) and a former ESP for the Rugby Football Union, said of the company’s partnership with Pups Rugby: “SocialVibe is proud to be associated with


Pups Rugby as they continue to find success as one of Europe’s leading ‘Invitation’ Rugby 7s teams. The Pups have united a family of players drawn from many different Rugby communities, and we’re thrilled to be aligned with a team that reflects our ability to motivate people across common interests in social media. It is perhaps fitting that, as a leader in digital brand advertising solutions, SocialVibe should be aligned with the phenomenal brand that is Pups Rugby. Watching the Pups play is a truly motivating and exciting experience, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.”


Another company who are developing a relationship with Pups Rugby is ViPR www.viprfit.com “We were delighted to be associated with the Pups at the Middlesex Sevens,” said Fitpro spokesman Vicky Mahony. “We were treated to a great day of rugby and we look forward to some exciting tournaments ahead and seeing how the ViPR can help the Pups.” Bolstered by their relationship with


SocialVibe and ViPR, the Pups plan to compete in tournaments further afield. Next stop for the Pink and whites is Dubai in December and then the Las Vegas Sevens in February, 2012. “It’s been a momentous season for us,”


says Pups chairman Nick Warren, “and we are aiming to build on it by developing the Pups brand worldwide. We are looking to build a relationship with Hilversum rugby club in Holland and help Dutch rugby develop, as well as building a stronger relationship with The Tag Rugby Trust, a rugby charity which exists to help improve the lives of children in some of the poorest regions of the world. They currently work with orphanages and government schools in India, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya using the game of Tag Rugby as their vehicle www.tagrugbytrust.co.uk


After 20 years of trying, the Pups, it seems, are ready to bare their teeth on the world stage.


If you require any more information on Pups Rugby, check our websi te at www.pupsrugby.com


Issue 4 / www.ukrugbysevens.com / 45


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