The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced the expansion of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with Japan joining as the ninth venue for the upcoming 2011/2012 Series.
With 100 days to go until the start of the new Series, Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Stadium has been announced as the venue for the seventh round, one week after the renowned tournament in Hong Kong.
The expansion into Japan is another major boost for Asian Rugby, which has experienced an 18% increase in participation since Rugby World Cup 2007.
The continent is also building towards staging Rugby World Cup for the first time, when Japan will host the 2019 tournament.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “I am delighted that Tokyo is joining the international roster of tournaments that comprise the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series, which last season was watched in 147 countries in 16 languages. I am sure that the Japan Rugby Football Union will host a successful and popular event that Japan, Asia and the global Rugby family will be proud of.
“These are extremely exciting times for Rugby in Asia, where interest in Rugby has been boosted by Japan securing hosting rights for Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympic inclusion. The IRB is committed to ensuring all the processes are in place for the continued development of the sport throughout the Region so that even more men, women and children can enjoy Rugby.
“We very much look forward to working in partnership with the Japan Rugby Football Union to deliver an event that will benefit Asian Rugby and mark another significant milestone as we countdown to Sevens’ Olympic Games debut in Rio in 2016.”
The IRB is committed to the development of Rugby across Asia and working in collaboration with the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), it is currently investing over US$3 million annually in development, high performance and tournament programmes across Asia. The awarding of this Tournament to Japan is a key step in the process.
Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Stadium will host the 7th leg of the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series (Pic: here)
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