Sevens knockout format under scrutiny after W. Cup

  San Francisco, Monday

World Rugby chiefs have declared the “brutal” knockout format of the World Cup Sevens a success but coaches have urged officials to think twice before using the same system more widely.

In a break from tradition, this year’s tournament scrapped the usual round-robin stage in favour of a single-elimination knockout, raising the stakes from the opening rounds.

Yet while the format change created undeniable drama, with Australia a notable casualty on the opening day, some players and coaches remain unconvinced whether the experiment should continue.

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said the move to straight knockout had been a hit with fans.

“It played into the drama of the tournament,” Gosper said.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from fans about the drama of knockout. It makes each game exciting. It can be brutal for teams, but sport’s brutal. What can you say?”

New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw, however, remained unimpressed.

“I haven’t changed my mind,” Laidlaw said after his team romped to victory over England in Sunday’s final at AT&T Park.

“I don’t enjoy the format,” Laidlaw added. “Ultimately once you’re through the first day, every tournament is straight knockout anyway. So it’s not actually any different from a rugby perspective.                                                                        -AFP

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