The offload in 7s…


The rugby photography bug bit hard after this shot.

It remains my absolute favourite shot of the sport because of the ball positioning, and the players reactions.

I was sitting in the south stand of Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas,  for USA 7s in 2010. This was my first big rugby event, first 7s tournament, and I was a rookie at shooting the game. Mind, I’d been shooting photography for 20 years up until this point but never sports photography.

Holy mackerel this is fun.

South Africa was playing New Zealand. I banged off a few hundredokay 500 shots of this game and set to editing that night. Keep the ball in the shot, players preferably facing the camera, and keep firing. I land this monster.

Did I really capture what I thought I captured? Yup.

(Sidenote – being as A.D.D. as I am, its a tough thing to focus. Focusing on shooting my favourite team, New Zealand, sitting with former NZ7s players and friends, and enjoying the wild crazy atmosphere of a 7s tournament whilst shooting the best rugby in the world is a tough order. I managed it by focusing on the NZ7s team and having fun with the rest of the tournament. )

I landed one whale of a shot here.

I’ll back up and say that I get 10 cracking shots of a 15s match or 20 of a 7s tournament, I’m happier than a pig in poo.

This was one of several that breathed pure rugby. It is my favourite since it captured a fast fast game, froze it, and told a story of an off-load by NZ that resulted in a try at the end of the play. South Africa was too slow on blocking and the ball got away. This shot was the start of that.

This shot was also the start of  “how many more of these can I get?!” pursuit in rugby photography that continues to this day.


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