<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div> ^^^ That's an article which appears in today's Sunday Independent. There are some interesting things to be gleamed from it. First of all, the Puma deal seems to be worth about 5m per year which is more than double what was previously reported. Secondly is the sponsorship deal signed with Aviva which is worth 40m over a decade. Finally is the figure of 350,000 per year which it would reportedly cost to enter a team into the World Sevens Series. In light of the sponsorship deals with Puma and Aviva, allied with the growing commercial clout of Leinster and Munster, why don't Ireland enter a team in Sevens competition on a regular basis? Unquestionably we'd hear the "Ireland is in a recession and we need to cut our cloth" excuse trotted out. I think that would be a phony excuse. 350,000 more than likely less than the combined salaries given over to players like Chris Whitaker, Nick Williams, Cameron Jowitt, Rob Dewey, Tim Donnelly and Troy Nathan - guys who do nothing to improve he quality of Irish rugby. Hell, there are plenty of duff Irish players in the provincial ranks who could be cast aside too in order to save money. Would cutting this dead wood out of the system and replacing it with a Sevens team not be worthwhile? The potential benefits are huge. Ian Keatley, Darren Cave and Keith Earls all played Sevens at the end of last season and all made the breakthrough this year. It's no coincidence. Sevens helped them develop their offloading skills, tackling and appreciation of space. If they can improve on those aspects of play in just a couple of lesser tournaments, surely it would be of benefit to enter a squad into the 10 round proper tour. Some of the present u20 Grand Slam hopeful squad wold benefit hugely from touring. Ian McKinley, Ian Madigan, Peter O'Mahoney and Rhys Ruddock for example could be afforded the opportunity of showcasing their talent at a higher level, as well as a completely different format, to the AIL. Even just travelling to the various venues and getting out of their comfort zone would help their development. It's time the IRFU paid Sevens more than just a passing interest.