Date set for SA Sevens in PE
The South African Sevens in Port Elizabeth will take place on 9 and 10 December 2011 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This was announced by the International Rugby Board (IRB) on Thursday. They also stated that the HSBC Sevens World Series will be expanded next season, with Japan joining as the ninth venue for the upcoming 2011/2012 Series.
Furthermore, the HSBC Sevens World Series will not start in Dubai any more, but in Australia on 25 November. The Dubai-tournament follows a week later (2-3 December) before the third leg in Port Elizabeth, making for a tough three-week start to the series.
Jurie Roux, the CEO of the South African Rugby Union, said: “We’re very excited about the changes to the HSBC Sevens World Series schedule. The three new stops will definitely add some spice to the series and any team that want to win the title at the end of the season, will have to perform consistently well.
“The South African leg in Port Elizabeth is also something that we’re looking forward to. We have less than four months to put everything in place, but as we’ve seen this week with the preparations for the Castle Tri-Nations test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the infrastructure and is in place. I’m confident we can put together a world class event yet again.”
With 100 days to go until the start of the new Series, Tokyo's Prince Chichibu Stadium has been announced as the venue for the seventh round, one week after the renowned tournament in Hong Kong. The expansion into Japan is another major boost for Asian Rugby, which has experienced an 18% increase in participation since Rugby World Cup 2007.
The continent is also building towards staging Rugby World Cup for the first time, when Japan will host the 2019 tournament.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “I am delighted that Tokyo is joining the international roster of tournaments that comprise the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series, which last season was watched in 147 countries in 16 languages. I am sure that the Japan Rugby Football Union will host a successful and popular event that Japan, Asia and the global Rugby family will be proud of.
“These are extremely exciting times for Rugby in Asia, where interest in Rugby has been boosted by Japan securing hosting rights for Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympic inclusion. The IRB is committed to ensuring all the processes are in place for the continued development of the sport throughout the Region so that even more men, women and children can enjoy Rugby.
“We very much look forward to working in partnership with the Japan Rugby Football Union to deliver an event that will benefit Asian Rugby and mark another significant milestone as we countdown to Sevens’ Olympic Games debut in Rio in 2016."
Last season's HSBC Sevens World Series reached its bold attendance target by attracting over 500 000 fans around the world, and reached 332 million homes.
The 2011/12 Series will kick off and climax at different venues, with Australia's Gold Coast set to host the opener on 25-26 November 2011 and London's Twickenham Stadium the climax on 12-13 May 2012.
HSBC Sevens World Series 2011/12
Round 1: 25-26 November 2011 – Gold Coast, Australia
Round 2: 2-3 December 2011 – Dubai
Round 3: 9-10 December 2011 – Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Round 4: 3-4 February 2012 – Wellington, New Zealand
Round 5: 10-12 February 2012 – Las Vegas, USA
Round 6: 23-25 March 2012 – Hong Kong
Round 7: 31 March - 1 April 2012 – Tokyo, Japan
Round 8: 5-6 May 2012 – Edinburgh, Scotland
Round 9: 12-13 May 2012 – London, England