Rugby 7s will be making its debut at a GSSE during this year’s edition and there are high hopes that Team Malta may be among the protagonists in the fight for medals in both the men’s and women’s categories.
The Malta Rugby Football Union has been working hard to give its teams their best possible preparation and president Robert Portelli was delighted with the levels reached by our teams.
“The two teams had different pathways. Given that women play 7s rugby all year round, it was easier to add another competition at the end of the season, like Rugby Europe competitions,” Portelli said.
“For men, where the local game is predominantly 15s, some adaptations were needed to incorporate the preparation of the team whilst having players playing club and 15s international rugby, but credit to the clubs for fully collaborating with us.
“GSSE provided an unprecedented level of assistance in financial terms, allowing us to support our athletes with specialized strength and conditioning coaches, psychological support and a nutritionist.
“Both teams had a series of friendlies and camps. I am pleased that all athletes pushed their boundaries and showed an impressive professional work ethic throughout the preparation.”
Portelli said that both selections are expected to have some new faces and will battle for honours.
“Both teams have experienced a steady turnover, with new faces coming in and at the same time staying safe with experienced players in key positions,” Portelli said.
“We have high expectations for both teams. We know some of the other teams from Rugby Europe competitions, and the contest will be tough because some teams play in higher divisions than us, but we will do everything we can on the pitch to fly the Maltese flag as high as possible.
“The Games give a unique exposure to the sport of rugby. We have noticed greater interest in the game, particularly from children and schoolteachers.
“We, as a union, will make sure that the legacy of these games lasts for as long as possible.”
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