India and Sri Lanka are two of the 10 mens teams who will be participating in the Shanghai Sevens this weekend. The tournament will feature national teams from all over Asia including hosts China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Chinese Taipei and represents the true spread of Rugby Sevens across a region that has a strong appetite for its non-stop action format. The Shanghai Sevens, played at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club, is the first of six exciting two-day events which make up the regional Series sanctioned by the International Rugby Board and the Asian Rugby Football Union.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: (quote) With Rugby Sevens enjoying an increasing profile in Asia, the Asian Rugby Sevens Series represents an exciting opportunity for the Sport to reach out to new fans in the region, people who are increasingly drawn to the appeal of an event that showcases skill, speed and strength in a unique festival environment. The superb performances of the Asian teams at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 was a highlight of the Dubai tournament with China and Thailand featuring in the inaugural Womens event and Japan and Hong Kong in the mens tournament. TV viewing figures for Sevens continue to grow in Asia, while the Rugby Sevens tournament at the World Games in Chinese Taipei in July attracted a crowd of 37,000. With Rugby Sevens and Golf recommended by the IOC Executive Board for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games, the establishment of an Asian Sevens Series is another massive boost for a Sport that truly enjoys universal appeal for men and women. (end quote)
The Shanghai tournament signals a new dawn for Sevens in China, which has the potential for significant growth, and the head coach of the China national side is excited about the impact of the exciting sport in his country and across Asia.
After Shanghai, the Series will move to the Philippines, Brunei, Borneo and Iran finishing with the Sri Lanka Sevens on November 28-29.
Asian Rugby Sevens Series 2009 Schedule
Shanghai Sevens, China 12-13 September
Subic Sevens, Philippines 10-11 October
Brunei Sevens 24-25 October
Borneo Sevens, Kota Kinabalu 31 October- 1 November
Kish Island Sevens, Iran 20-22 November
Sri Lanka Sevens, 28-29 November