Details Set for USA Sevens in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS – The pools and match schedule for the fourth stop on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit, the widely anticipated USA Sevens in Las Vegas, have officially been announced today by the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Last year’s USA Sevens event, held in San Diego, attracted a crowd of 38,750 and was broadcast on U.S. network television for the first time with an audience of 1.4 million. The 2010 event, held on February 13-14 in its impressive new home in Las Vegas, promises to set new standards and comes at a time when Rugby Sevens is enjoying unprecedented popularity and interest around the globe.
In October, following an overwhelming vote in favor of inclusion by the International Olympic Committee members, it was announced that the world’s top men’s and women’s rugby sevens players will have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic Gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“Although rugby continues to grow steadily in popularity across North America, Olympic inclusion should attract thousands of new fans, participants and cross-over athletes,” USA Rugby’s CEO Nigel Melville said. “With the largest international rugby event in America taking place in Las Vegas this year, there is no better time or place to showcase what this great sport has to offer.”
IRB Sevens Manager Beth Coalter added: “I have no doubt that this will be a special event and the fans can look forward to mouth-watering matches on day one, including a repeat of last year’s USA Sevens final, another meeting between Fiji and South Africa and hosts USA facing Canada again.”
“We also welcome Chile, Japan and Series newcomers Guyana alongside the core teams, highlighting the universal spread of Rugby Sevens,” Coalter finished. “I am sure there will be plenty of excitement at the Sam Boyd Stadium to keep the fans on the edge of their seats all weekend.”
Series leaders New Zealand – winners of the opening two legs in Dubai and George in December – are the top seeds for the fourth leg of the 2009/10 Series and will face Australia, France and Guyana in Pool A.
Fiji currently stand second in the Series, 12 points adrift of New Zealand after reaching the George final and top Pool B. They will face hosts USA, Canada and South Africa, the 2008/09 Series champions they beat in the Cup quarterfinals in both Dubai and George.
Dubai runners up Samoa head Pool C and will face George semifinalists Kenya, Scotland and Chile on day one at the Sam Boyd Stadium as they seek to win a first Series title since London in 2008.
Defending champions Argentina face a tough challenge after being drawn in the same Pool as 2009 runners up England and world champions Wales for the inaugural event in Las Vegas. Argentina, who scored two second half tries to beat England 19-14 in the USA Sevens event in San Diego last year, will also face Japan in Pool D.
Ray Peterson, Managing Director USA Sevens LLC, added: “World class athletic competition and a first class rugby experience are the cornerstones of the USA Sevens. This schedule underscores the growing global appeal to be found at this event.”
Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, added: “As a destination renowned for world-class hotels, dining and entertainment, Las Vegas is proud to host a world-class sporting event with the USA Sevens Tournament. It provides a platform to showcase Las Vegas as a great sports destination to domestic and international audiences.”
For more information the USA Sevens, please visit www.usasevens.com. For more information on the IRB Sevens World Series, please visit www.irbsevens.com. Media interested in attending this event, can download the application online or contact USA Rugby’s Media Director Sara John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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