IRB Sevens World Series celebrates 10 years
The IRB has announced the dates of the eight international tournaments to comprise the 2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series, which marks the 10-year anniversary of Rugby's highly successful international Grand Prix-style event.
The Series has enjoyed significant growth since its inception in 1999/2000, when it was launched to further promote Rugby Sevens as a true discipline of Rugby, to grow and develop Rugby in developing countries and to consolidate into an official series the host of international tournaments that existed around the world.
As in previous years the eight tournaments are packaged into pairs with two tournaments played a week apart. Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and George (South Africa) are again the first pair of tournaments, with Dubai again staging the Series opener at the end of November 2008, four months before also hosting the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 for both men and women.
This year the Dubai tournament moves to a brand new purpose-built facility allowing the organisers to better satisfy demand for tickets, which has grown steadily alongside the Series itself over the past decade.
The Dubai event is now played in front of 35,000 on each of the two days. Hong Kong, probably the most renowned Sevens tournament on the circuit, enjoys a 120,000 sell-out crowd each year over its three days. George in South Africa sold out for the first time in December 2007, while the 34,500-seat Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand sold out online in just five minutes this year with 70,000 people unsuccessful in their desire to attend the event.
San Diego (USA), Adelaide (Australia) and Edinburgh (Scotland) will be hosting a World Series tournament for the third time in the coming season and, along with the Twickenham event in London, all attracted strong crowds in the 2007/08 season.
Edinburgh will once again provide the stage for the climax to the IRB Sevens World Series, in which New Zealand will be defending its title as champions for the seventh time having won eight of the nine Series contested to date. Keen to wrest the title away in 2008/09 will be teams such as Fiji, South Africa, Argentina, Samoa, Kenya, England and Australia. In all over 30 teams will participate in the eight tournament series.
The IRB Sevens World Series along with the Sevens Rugby World Cup 2009 will be an integral part of the further promotion of Sevens Rugby to the world sporting community including the IOC as the International Rugby Board continues its campaign to see Rugby re-introduced into the Olympic Games. For full details on the IRB campaign CLICK HERE >>.
2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series
Dubai, UAE - 28-29 November 2008
George, South Africa - 5-6 December 2008
Wellington, New Zealand - 6-7 February 2009
San Diego, USA - 14-15 February 2009
** RWC Sevens, men & women, Dubai - 5-7 March 2009 **
Hong Kong - 27-29 March 2009
Adelaide, Australia - 4-5 April 2009
London, England - 23-24 May 2009
Edinburgh, Scotland - 30-31 May 2009