Two weeks to go until women's series in USA
Following a dramatic and successful start to the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Dubai late last year, round two is just two weeks away with Rugby fans from all over the States gearing up for some top-class action in Houston, Texas.
With just five months to go before Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 takes place in Moscow, the world’s elite female Sevens players continue their campaign with 12 teams vying to impress in front of what will surely be a typically partisan American crowd.
Victorious in Dubai, New Zealand lead the standings but South Africa, Australia and Spain are hot on their heels.
Houston marks round two of the series, which is set to take place in a total of four global destinations this season (the others being Guangzhou, China, and Amsterdam, Netherlands), underscoring the IRB's commitment to the ongoing growth and development of women's Rugby around the world. It is another significant step in the journey towards the sport’s readmission to the Olympic Games programme in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Exciting time for women's Rugby Sevens
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This is an exciting time generally for women’s Rugby Sevens. With four rounds of the series taking place this season followed at the end of June by Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, the tournament is set to grow over the coming years as the Game continues to go from strength to strength.”
“Of course everything now is building towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as Rugby prepares to re-enter the summer programme. That is going to be a wonderful opportunity for the global Game to show off the sport to the wider world so that we can introduce it to new territories while also further strengthening the Game in its traditional heartlands.”
"Part of the Olympic vision is the presence of both men’s and women’s competitions. Rugby is a sport for men and women of all ages so it is very encouraging that great strides have been made in recent years to promote women’s Rugby and the successful campaign to restore Rugby to the summer Olympic programme will help raise standards yet higher.”
USA captain Vanesha McGee said: "We are looking forward to playing in the next stage of the Women's Sevens World Series circuit. We're training harder than ever and it shows in our skills and fitness. Playing in Houston, in front of a USA home crowd, will be extra special for us and we're excited to showcase elite Rugby in our own backyard."
Passionate home crowd in Houston
USA Rugby Chief Executive Nigel Melville said: “Last week, I spent time with the Eagles Women’s Sevens team as they began their final preparations for the Houston Sevens tournament. Everyone is in great shape and looking forward to taking on the best teams in the world. Expectations remain high for the Eagles who are one of the world’s leading women’s Rugby Sevens teams, and the chance to play in front of a passionate home crowd in Houston will provide added incentive to win and win well!"
The series 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 this 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.
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 the Houston round of this year’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series are still available online here.
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