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Rugby: Brazil joins expanded 2013/14 Women’s Sevens World Series

Team captains ahead of this year's Guangzhou Women's Sevens, which will next be held in April 2014. Photos: IRB.

Team captains ahead of this year’s Guangzhou Women’s Sevens, which will next be held in April 2014. Photos: IRB.

August 23, 2013: São Paulo has joined Dubai, Atlanta, Guangzhou, Amsterdam and one more host city in an expanded six-leg IRB Women’s Sevens World Series for 2013/14, the IRB (International Rugby Board) has announced.

 

The February 2014 leg in Sao Paolo will bring rugby sevens to Brazil two years ahead of the sport’s Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016.

 

The 2013/14 series will again kick off in Dubai, UAE, from November 28-30, where the women’s competition is held concurrently with the second leg of the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series.

 

The women’s series will then feature back-to-back events in North and South America, first in Atlanta (February 15-16) – which replaces Houston as the USA’s host city – and then São Paulo (February 21-22).

 

China (black) lost to Japan in the Bowl Final at this year's Guangzhou Women's Sevens.

China (black) lost to Japan in the Bowl Final at this year’s Guangzhou Women’s Sevens.

Guangzhou, China (April 4-6) – a week after the men’s Hong Kong Sevens – and Amsterdam, Netherlands (May 16-17) will again host events on similar dates to this year, while the sixth and final leg has not yet been confirmed. Dubai, Houston, Guangzhou and Amsterdam were the four host cities in the 2012/13 series.

 

Japan beat China in the Bowl competition of this year’s Guangzhou Women’s Sevens, which will again be held at the Guangzhou University Town Stadium, host venue for the rugby competitions at the 2010 Asian Games. Many of the competing teams often play in an invitational event in Hong Kong the previous week.

 

As part of the IRB high performance programme, the Brazil team – who won the Bowl in Houston this year – have been invited to compete in all the rounds along with the eight core teams, who qualified through the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.

 

New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup Sevens and 2012/13 series champions, head the core teams, which also include Oceania neighbours Australia, Canada and USA from North America, and European sides England, Ireland, Russia and Spain.

 

In the 2012/13 series, China competed in Dubai, Guangzhou and Amsterdam, while Japan played in Houston and Guangzhou.

 

Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of the IRB, said: “This announcement caps a great year for Women’s Sevens and follows an outstanding and highly competitive Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and a strong inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

 

Brazil will compete in all six legs of the 2013/14 Women's Sevens World Series. Photos: IRB.

Brazil will compete in all six legs of the 2013/14 Women’s Sevens World Series.

“The appetite for hosting our marquee women’s events has never been higher and the inclusion of São Paulo in an expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series reflects the incredible growth of the women’s game globally as well as tremendous excitement in Brazil about the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Rio 2016 programme.

 

“Brazil boasts one of the world’s top-ranked international women’s teams and I have no doubt that the debut event at the Arena Barueri will prove popular and give us a taste of what to expect at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

 

The series expansion also underscores the IRB’s commitment to grow rugby in emerging markets and the São Paulo leg will complement successful mass-participation programmes run by the Brazilian Union ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

 

Brazil women’s captain Julia Sardá said: “It’s essential that Brazil gets to play more rugby, as we will host the next Olympic Games. Having the opportunity to play against the best teams in the world with family and friends watching is amazing and we hope to show to the world that Brazilian rugby is evolving.”

 

New Zealand will face tough opposition as they set out to defend their crown. After the debut series with invitational teams, the eight teams who earned core team status via reaching the Rugby World Cup Sevens quarter-finals will compete across all six rounds.

 

Mark Egan, the IRB’s Head of Competitions and Performance, said: “Our key strategic objective is to expand the global competition platform for the top women’s sevens teams. The success of the 2012/13 series and the outstanding level of competition that we saw at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow shows that the teams are ready for an expanded series.

 

“We are delighted that we are able to bring a leg of the series to Brazil, which will play an important role in increasing the profile of sevens in the country and operationally provide the foundation for ensuring the delivery of a successful rugby sevens competition at the Olympic Games in 2016.

 

“By including Brazil as an invitational core team in the Series, we are emphasising our commitment to supporting the Brazil Rugby Union in accelerating the performance programme for its women’s sevens team. It is only through regular competition against the top teams in the world that we will be able to benchmark their progress as we move closer to the Rio 2016 Games.”

 

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series 2013/14

Nov 28-30, 2013:        Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Feb 15-16, 2014:        Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Feb 21-22, 2014:        Arena Barueri, São Paulo, Brazil

Apr 4-6, 2014:             Guangzhou University Town Stadium, Guangzhou, China

May 16-17, 2014:       National Rugby Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Final leg date TBC:     Final leg venue TBC

For more information, visit http://wsws.irb.com

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