One week until historic Women's Rugby Series
- Dubai kicks off inaugural Women’s Sevens World Series
- Other rounds to take place in USA, China and Netherlands
- Some tickets still available for Dubai’s biggest sporting event of the year
The countdown is on. In one week’s time, a major development for women’s Rugby will kick off as the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series (WSWS) gets underway at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
With just seven months to go before Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 takes place in Moscow, the world’s elite female Sevens players begin their campaign with 12 teams vying to impress in front of 45,000 enthusiastic fans in the UAE. The WSWS event in Dubai will run parallel to the second round of the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series tournament giving spectators an added dimension to their viewing pleasure.
The WSWS is set to take place in four global destinations, underscoring the IRB's commitment to the ongoing growth and development of women's Rugby around the world and is another significant step in the journey towards the sport’s readmission to the Olympic Games programme in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
In a ground-breaking move, the inaugural global series for the world's top women's Sevens players will feature rounds in UAE (Dubai), USA (Houston), China (Guangzhou) and Netherlands (Amsterdam).
The system mirrors the men's series, with each 12-team event featuring six core teams who will play across all four events and six teams who will be invited based on regional tournament rankings, reflecting the IRB's strategic aim to mix the top teams in the world with the best up and coming teams from each of the six IRB regions. The six core teams for the inaugural series are Australia, Canada, England, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
Women's Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world and, in 2016, the finest female players in the world will take their place alongside their male counterparts in Rio de Janeiro when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games summer programme. The inception of an international series is a key milestone in the ongoing development of both the competitive standards and the professionalism of the women’s Game.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Just one week to go and the world’s best women’s teams will be fine-tuning their skills ahead of what will be a gruelling and action-packed two days of Rugby. For the past 13 years, the top Sevens athletes in the men’s Game have competed in a world series environment, and now all women players can also aspire to compete at the same level, test themselves against the very best and hone their skills.
“It’s an important step forward for Rugby and I think the thousands of spectators in Dubai, not to mention the millions watching around the world on television will be treated to a high-quality spectacle of athleticism and skill from these top sports people.”
Tavo: A milestone for the girls
Captain of England, Michaela Staniford, said: “I’m really looking forward to playing regular Sevens. I love the game and can’t wait to have more of it throughout the season.
“Playing international sides on a regular basis throughout a first Series is going to be really tough physically and mentally but I know all the England girls are looking forward to the opportunity to produce performance after performance on the world stage.”
Australia captain Rebecca Tavo added: “It’s so awesome for the girls to have our own World Series. To be able to travel around the world and play against the best teams in the world – it’s a milestone for the girls. We’re so privileged to be a part of the Sevens buzz and where it’s going – ultimately taking us to Rio… Who wouldn’t want to be involved? It’s the Olympics so there’s so much more talent coming down and trying rugby out. It’s fantastic for the Game.
“We’re so excited, we’ve been preparing ever since we heard the announcement of the new Women’s Sevens World Series so we can’t wait to step out in front of that crowd and put on a good Rugby show.”
The IRB Sevens World Series concept is in line with key strategic objectives set out in the IRB Women’s Rugby Plan, expanding the women’s Sevens international competition model, particularly at the elite level of the Game.
Tickets to this year’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens are still available online through www.dubairugby7s.com and from selected Costa and MMI outlets, Virgin Megastores, Emirates Group headquarters, Dnata offices and at 7he Sevens ground in Dubai.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium
Rugby World Cup Sevens, Moscow, June 28-30 2013