Gosper: Women's Series opener a huge success
International Rugby Board Chief Executive Brett Gosper has hailed the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series tournament in Dubai a huge success and has reiterated the IRB’s commitment to develop the Women’s Game as the road towards the Olympic Games in 2016 continues.
Speaking in Dubai after New Zealand beat surprise package South Africa in Saturday’s final, Gosper said the future of Women’s Rugby looked extremely bright.
“It is a great time to be involved in Rugby generally but I would say the Women’s Game is particularly exciting. As we continue to provide them with opportunities, I’m delighted with the way the players are reacting. They keep pushing the bar higher,” said Gosper.
“Staging this first leg of the Women’s Sevens World Series in Dubai provided a fitting backdrop to what we believe will develop into a popular and competitive series. The quality of Rugby on show in Dubai over the past few days indicates that the standard of the Women’s Game is on a steep upward curve.”
“To see these well-drilled, skilful athletes in action in front of 40,000 people is very gratifying and we are committed to ensuring that Women’s Rugby develops apace as we prepare for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.”
“The men’s HSBC Sevens World Series is a well-established and much-loved fixture in the global Rugby calendar and now the women are getting in on the act. We have seen the emergence, in recent times, of newer Rugby nations through Women’s Sevens, particularly Spain, Netherlands and Russia.”
“Indeed, the high level of performance from the Russia team, getting through to the quarter-final of the Cup competition – losing very narrowly to Spain – bodes well for them as they prepare to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow next June. I know they will be desperate to perform well in front of their home supporters at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, a former Olympic venue.”
In a ground-breaking move, this inaugural Series for the world's top Women's Sevens players will feature rounds in USA (Houston), China (Guangzhou) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam) as well as Dubai. The eagerly anticipated RWC Sevens 2013 in the Russian capital will provide a dramatic climax finish to the season.
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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 Regional Associations. The six core teams for the inaugural Series are Australia, Canada, England, the 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 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.
The IRB Women’s 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.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 - Dubai: 30 November - 1 December 2012 - 7he Sevens (Winners: New Zealand)
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