DUBAI, UAE – The International Rugby Board has underscored its commitment to delivering annual international Women’s Sevens competition with the first IRB-sanctioned Women’s International Sevens tournament set to take place as part of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens on 2-3 December 2011.
The tournament will be played alongside the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series Round 2 action in Dubai, with the semi finals and finals to be played on the main pitch at 7he Sevens stadium.
The teams to compete in Dubai are reigning women’s Sevens world champions Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, England, Brazil, China and Spain.
The best women’s Sevens players in the world will be competing for the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup in Dubai. The cost of staging the tournament and supporting the teams is being managed through direct IRB funding and the generous support of Emirates.
The move, a key delivery as part of the wider IRB Women’s Strategic Plan, is the first step in the IRB’s strategy to develop a new IRB International Women’s Sevens Series, which is planned from 2012 onwards.
This exciting addition to the international women’s rugby calendar is a milestone on the road to Rio 2016, the first Olympic Games for both men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens since the IOC overwhelmingly voted to include the exciting and competitive sport.
The development is also a timely boost for the world’s best women’s teams as they continue their preparations for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, Russia.
“Ever since the IOC made the historic decision to adopt Rugby Sevens into the Olympic movement from 2016, the IRB has been working with its member unions towards the inception of a Women’s International Series and this competition in Dubai is a first exciting step towards that,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset.
“Having hosted the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 for both men and women, Dubai has already proven itself as an ideal venue to cater for both competitions. We look forward to working with the organisers to make the event in December a memorable one."
Richard Vaughan, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide, said: “It is a great honour to be hosting the first ever IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup in Dubai. The women’s game has come a long way in recent times and while we have been staging women’s matches at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens for many years, this will be a massive step forward with eight international sides competing in an IRB-sanctioned event.
“I have no doubt this next step towards Rio 2016 will be a great success in popularising the women’s game and the Dubai crowds have plenty to look forward to."
Tickets to the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which takes place at 7he Sevens ground from December 1-3, go on sale on Monday, October 3. For more information on the tournament, log on to www.dubairugby7s.com.