Former Head Coach of USA Rugby Mike Tolkin hired to lead rugby operations – signs star players from USA Men’s & Women’s Rugby Sevens Teams
NEW YORK, NY – North America has a groundbreaking new sports league. Scheduled to debut in the fall of 2021, Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is the first league of its kind with both men’s teams and women’s teams under one umbrella with equal pay. The league will showcase the highly entertaining sport of rugby sevens through a single-day touring format in cities across the United States and Canada. The sport of sevens, as it is known in its short form, is designed as a fast-paced, up-tempo type of rugby that brings nonstop action through a series of 15-minute games.
PR7s was founded by North American rugby executive, who becomes the youngest top executive of a North American professional sports league at the age of 30. Scannell announced that Mike Tolkin has been hired as the league’s general manager to oversee all rugby operations. Tolkin brings an impressive resume to PR7s. He was head coach of the United States national rugby team from 2012 to 2015.
Tolkin’s first player signings include three stars of the USA Men’s National Sevens team, Danny Barrett, Stephen Tomasin, Folau Niua and two stars of the USA Women’s National Sevens team, Naya Tapper, and Abby Gustaitis.
“It’s time for North America to fall in love in rugby sevens,” said Scannell. “We are building a professional sports league that will captivate fans with a world-class product on the field, a festival environment in the stands, and unprecedented access for viewers at home. There is a core of passionate rugby fans here in North America and the participation rates are some of the fasted growing for any sport. The opportunities for continued growth are substantial. Sevens has the pace, power, and athleticism, unlike any other sport. We are honored to offer both male and female athletes a place to showcase their talents stateside.”
In rugby sevens, games are a total of 15 minutes long with two seven-minute halves and one-minute halftime. As the name suggests, there are seven players on each side, compared to the 15-player vs 15-player format seen in the original form of the sport.
Starting with a pilot season in the fall of 2021, PR7s will host events where all teams play multiple games in one location on a single day. In the league’s expanded format that is scheduled to launch in 2022, points will be accumulated over the course of several weeks, leading to a playoff. The host cities and schedule, along with tryout information, player announcements, and team names, will be revealed in the coming months. Fans are encouraged to sign up for news alerts and schedule updates at PRSevens.com.
“Sevens is a fast-paced and dynamic game requiring skill, speed, power, and precision,” said Tolkin. “It’s an incredibly entertaining game to watch, and PR7s wants to showcase the immense talent and athleticism of our athletes throughout North America. The U.S. team has enjoyed great success on the world stage against international competition, and PR7s is a great opportunity to continue to grow that talent pool. Starting with Danny, Naya, Abby, Stephen, and Folau, our rosters will have incredible athletes who will provide a thrilling experience for our fans.”
As a Pacifica, CA native, Barrett was a four-time All-American (7s and 15s) at the University of California, Berkley, and was a key member of the 2016 Rio Olympic games, where he scored 20 points for Team USA. Residing from Santa Rosa, CA, Tomasin was an All-American (7s and 15s) at San Diego State University, 2015 PanAm Games Bronze medalist, and participant at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.
As a native of White Hall, MD, Gustaitis was a collegiate All-American (15s) at the University of Maryland, 2017 Women’s Ruby (15s), and 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens participant. Raised in Beaufort, SC, Tapper started playing rugby at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill after excelling in track and field in high school. She was selected to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad after graduation.
About Premier Rugby Sevens
Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is a groundbreaking professional sports league in North America. Scheduled to debut in the Fall of 2021, PR7s is the first league of its kind with both men’s teams and women’s teams under one umbrella with equal pay. The league will showcase the highly entertaining sport of rugby sevens through a single-day touring format in cities across the United States. The league was founded by North American rugby executive Owen Scannell and rugby operations are led by Mike Tolkin. To learn more about Premier Rugby Sevens, go to PRSevens.com and follow the league on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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Contact: Eric Nemeth
Eric PR & Marketing, LLC – on behalf of Premier Rugby Sevens