AUSTIN (KXAN) — Premier Rugby Sevens will make its season debut at Q2 Stadium on Saturday and the home team will be wearing a familiar shade of orange.
The league kicks off the 2023 season Saturday, and the hometown Texas Team (yes, that’s their name) plays host to the league’s three other Eastern Conference squads in a fast-paced variation of the sport.
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The New York Locals, Pittsburgh Steeltoes and Southern Headliners will join Texas Team for eight men’s and women’s rugby sevens matches on Austin FC’s pitch. As the name suggests, rugby sevens is played with seven players per side as opposed to traditional rugby union which has 15 players per side. For rugby sevens, The field is the same size as a union field. That means running lanes can be wide open for players to make long runs or nifty layoffs to break a teammate free for a try.
With temperatures expected to be in the 100-degree range all week, Texas’ Amir Lancaster said players better get acclimated to the heat and humidity quickly.
“Some of the first questions we got were, ‘Where is the water? Where is the sunscreen?’ I was like, y’all aren’t ready then,” he said.
Rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in 2016 at the Rio Games. Fiji is the back-to-back Olympic champions on the men’s side and New Zealand won gold in the women’s competition at Tokyo 2020.
Austin was formerly home to the Gilgronis, a Major League Rugby team that plays the traditional 15 players per side, but the team folded before the 2023 MLR season.