Brazil among teams to compete at USA Sevens
The International Rugby Board (IRB) and USA Sevens LLC have confirmed the line-up of nations set to compete at the USA Sevens, round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The tournament will be played at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas across three days on 10-12 February 2012.
Reigning Series champions New Zealand head the cast of teams who compete at every round of the Series, alongside host nation USA, Fiji, South Africa, England, France, Australia, Wales, Samoa, Argentina, Scotland and Kenya.
In addition, neighbouring Canada will compete, with Asian giants Japan and South American nations Uruguay and Brazil.
Rugby Sevens will make its Olympic debut at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and, as host nation, Brazil holds a unique place in the history of the Game. Rugby continues to grow rapidly there for both men and women and the men’s Sevens team has an opportunity to showcase that development in Las Vegas.
Canada competed in rounds two and three of the World Series in Dubai and South Africa and currently lie in 12th place in the World Series standings, just behind USA.
Japan competed at the opening round in Australia's Gold Coast, where they reached the Shield final. Los Teros of Uruguay take part on the Series for the first time since the last season’s USA Sevens.
Newly re-elected IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: "The 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series has already lit the imagination of fans around the world and, with five Cup finalists and three different champions already at the opening trio of rounds, the competitive edge is stronger than ever.
"The success of the USA Sevens tournament continues to grow every year, with more fans supporting the teams at the Sam Boyd Stadium and millions of viewers tuning in across the States on NBC, and around the world on the many broadcasters showing the Series.
"These are incredibly exciting times for Rugby as Sevens builds towards its Olympic debut in Rio in 2016. To have a competitive Brazil side in Las Vegas alongside the rest of the teams only serves to remind everyone of our Olympic countdown."
USA Sevens Tournament Director, Dan Lyle, commented: "The growth of Rugby in the United States has been on a rocket-like trajectory. Being the largest tournament in North America, with record-breaking television reach both domestically and internationally, USA Sevens has been a major part of that growth. And with the addition of Brazil to this year’s tournament, we expect to continue the sport’s expansion throughout the Americas."
New Zealand and Fiji lead the Series with 51 points after the first three rounds. South Africa lie third with 48, with England fourth one point further adrift.