We can reveal England and premiership legend Andy Goode is to join spectators as this year’s celebrity guest for the annual Greene King IPA Sevens tournament at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club on Sunday (May 8).
The fly-half and full-back who has played for premiership clubs Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Worcester Warriers, Wasps and currently Newcastle Falcons has won 17 senior England team caps and holds the record as the all-time leading points scorer in the premiership.
He will meet sponsors and fans and cheer on play as both the England and Ireland national rugby sevens squads compete against some of the top sevens teams in the country.
World-class players will be showcasing their rugby skills in what will be one of the final rugby sevens tournaments ahead of GB and Ireland team Olympic selections for Rio this summer.
Leading one of the elite teams gunning to win the £7,000 tournament prize money is England and New Zealand legend Henry Paul, who will be coaching Samurai International.
Paul, who has 23 caps playing rugby League for New Zealand switched to rugby union, winning his first England cap in 2002.
An accomplished sevens player, Paul competed for England in 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth games and captained the squad for the USA Sevens tournament in 2006.
The tournament, now it its eight year, is once again operating three concurrent competitions; an Elite men’s tournament, an Open competition for the top amateur sides, and a women’s tournament.
Last year’s elite competition winners, Northampton Saints, who are being coached by former England full-back Dusty Hare, will be returning to defend their title for the third successive year.
Commenting on the tournament Hare said: “The Bury St Edmunds tournament has been enjoyable to have been a part of over the past few years and we’re looking forward to it again.
“Mike Robinson and his team put on a great day and the standard of rugby is extremely high.
“The Bury St Edmunds tournament is now one of the highlights of the domestic sevens calendar and our players will get the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best squads in the country.”
The family friendly day, sponsored by Greene King IPA, will be packed with activities and games for children, food and drink stalls including a hog roast, barbeque a beer festival and merchandise stalls.
As is traditional for 7s rugby fancy, dress theme applies and spectators are encouraged to dress up to win prizes.
Bury St Edmunds RUFC’s club chairman, Mike Robinson, said: “Less than a week to go until this year’s Greene King IPA Sevens and we have a stellar line-up of top level players and teams competing.
“With rugby sevens’ Olympic debut in Rio this summer, this tournament is a chance to watch up close and meet some of the rugby stars who are likely to form the GB or Ireland squads.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Andy Goode as this year’s rugby hero, an outstanding player, who follows in the footsteps of previous attendees Billy Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Chris Ashton.”
* Gates open from 9.30am with tickets available on entry or in advance with early bird discounted tickets via the club’s website.
Gate prices are £15 per adult, £5 for U16s and free for Under 5s.