Schedule announced for 2013/14 Women's Series
The International Rugby Board has announced the inclusion of São Paulo as a host city of an expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series for 2013/14.
The new Series aims to capitalise on a stellar debut season with rounds across the globe, kicking off with Dubai (November 28-29), then Atlanta (February 15-16), São Paulo (February 21-22), Guangzhou (April 5-6) and Amsterdam (May 16-17).
The IRB will confirm the destination of the sixth leg in due course, following strong interest from Member Unions in hosting a round of the showcase Series.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This announcement caps a great year for Women’s Sevens and follows an outstanding and highly competitive Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and a strong inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.”
“The appetite for hosting our marquee women’s events has never been higher and the inclusion of São Paulo in an expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series reflects the incredible growth of the women’s Game globally as well as tremendous excitement in Brazil about the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Rio 2016 programme.”
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“Brazil boasts one of the world’s top-ranked international women’s teams and I have no doubt that the debut event at the Arena Barueri will prove popular and give us a taste of what to expect at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
The expansion of the Series also underscores the IRB’s commitment to grow Rugby in emerging markets and the São Paulo leg will complement successful mass participation programmes run by the Brazilian Union ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, where Rugby Sevens will make its debut.
Brazilian women's captain Julia Sardá added: "It's essential that Brazil gets to play more rugby, as we will host the next Olympic Games. Having the opportunity to play against the best teams in the world with family and friends watching is amazing and we hope to show to the world that Brazilian rugby is evolving."
Rugby World Cup Sevens and 2012/13 Series champions New Zealand will face tough opposition as they set out to defend their crown. After the debut Series with invitational teams, eight teams have earned core team status via reaching the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 quarter-finals and will compete across all six rounds.
2013/14 CORE TEAMS: AUSTRALIA, CANADA, ENGLAND, IRELAND, NEW ZEALAND, RUSSIA, SPAIN, USA
IRB Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan said: "Our key strategic objective is to expand the global competition platform for the top women's Sevens teams. The success of the 2012/13 Series and the outstanding level of competition that we saw at RWC Sevens in Moscow shows that the teams are ready for an expanded Series."
"We are delighted that we are able to bring a leg of the series to Brazil, which will play an important role in increasing the profile of Sevens in the country and operationally provide the foundation for ensuring the delivery of a successful Rugby Sevens competition at the Olympic Games in 2016."
"By including Brazil as an invitational core team in the Series, we are emphasising our commitment to supporting the Brazil Rugby Union in accelerating the performance programme for its women's Sevens team. It is only through regular competition against the top teams in the world that we will be able to benchmark their progress as we move closer to the Rio 2016 Games."
Women's Sevens World Series 2013/14: Dates and Venues
First leg: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 28-29, 2013
Second leg: Atlanta, Georgia, USA, February 15-16, 2014
Third leg: Arena Barueri, São Paulo, Brazil, February 21-22, 2014
Fourth leg: Guangzhou University Town Stadium, Guangzhou, China, April 5-6 2014
Fifth leg: National Rugby Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. May 16-17, 2014
Final leg: TBC