The International Rugby Board announced Wednesday that, following consultation with Member Unions and major stakeholders, the popular Rugby World Cup 7s tournament will be retained and integrated into the Olympic Games cycle.
This decision was in contrast to what has always been expected, that the World Cup would be eliminated and the Olympics would be the World Cup from now on. However, the IRB has now decided to integrate the event within the middle of the Olympic cycle.
With 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams competing at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, RWC Sevens 2013 currently includes 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams, thus providing vital world-class competition for a greater number of players.
n order for the quadrennial tournament to be integrated into the Olympic cycle in the most effective manner, the next event following RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow will take place in 2018.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “RWC Sevens provides an opportunity for a large number of nations to compete at a high level. Like all Olympic sports, we believe that a world championship event will increase competitiveness, interest and participation, slotting into the multi-sport Games cycle and enhancing Rugby Sevens in the Olympic Games and the sport as a whole.”
Right after that announcement was made, USA Rugby announced that it will put forth a bid to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The USA Rugby Board has appointed Board Director, international businessman and sports enthusiast Will Chang as Chairman of their bid. Chang will visit Moscow later this month to study the Russian capital’s hosting of the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to head the bid committee and potentially bring the Rugby World Cup Sevens to America,” Chang said. “Hosting this tournament will support our goals of developing the Game and further its popularity in the United States. We are looking forward to hearing more about the bid process and will do everything we can to ensure the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place on United States soil.”
USA Rugby hopes to capitalize on the IRB’s goals of showcasing the Game to a global audience and drive interest and participation in key rugby development markets like the United States.
“Rugby is now one of the fastest growing sports in America,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “We want to continue our growth, showcase the new Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens and take the sport to unprecedented levels in the USA.”
Prepared from releases by IRB and USA Rugby