The IRB has confirmed the commitment to providing an annual international Women’s Sevens competition with the first IRB-sanctioned Women’s International Sevens tournament due to occurat the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens on 2-3 December 2011. The tournament will be run during the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series Round 2 games in Dubai, with the semi finals and finals to be played on the main pitch at 7he Sevens stadium.
The teams playing in the event are: are reigning women’s Sevens world champions Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, England, Brazil, China and Spain. They will be playing to win the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup, with the competition being staged thanks to funding from the IRB plus tournamnet main sponsor Emirates.
This is the first step in delivering the IRB Women’s Strategic Plan, to develop a new IRB International Women’s Sevens Series, which is planned from 2012 onwards.
The addition to the international women’s rugby calendar is a step on the route to Rio 2016, the first Olympic Games for both men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens. It will also give game time to teams in preperation for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, Russia.
Bernard Lapasset the IRB Chairman said (quote)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. 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.(end quote)
Richard Vaughan, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide, said: (quote) 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 massive success in popularising the women’s game and the Dubai crowds have plenty to look forward to. (end quote)