The International Rugby Board (IRB) has revealed the dates for 2014/15’s Sevens Series, which has increased importance ahead of the Olympics.
A recent announcement said that the top four-ranked nations in the HSBC World Series will qualify from it directly for the Olympics in 2016.
The sixteenth edition of the record-breaking Series will visit the same nine countries as the current 2013/14 season with two changes to the order of rounds. The event in the USA will be played the weekend after New Zealand’s, and Japan’s event will follow on from Hong Kong.
“With the World Series now confirmed as a key part of Olympic qualifying for Rio 2016, we are delighted to have nine such strong tournaments showcasing these world class athletes and the strength of global Sevens competition,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“Rugby Sevens is growing all the time and its Olympic credentials are helping to forge new markets and interest around the world, in turn broadening the international landscape for the game of Rugby.
“Throughout this 2013/14 Series we are once again seeing an avid fan base flocking to support and watch these spectacular events, and mirroring the vibrancy and youthfulness of the rugby players on the pitch. We are all already looking forward with great anticipation to next season.”
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship and Events, HSBC Holdings plc said: “HSBC has been involved with Rugby Sevens since 2010 as the first ever sponsor of the International Rugby Board’s Sevens World Series. With the added incentive of Olympic qualification, next year’s HSBC Sevens World Series is set to be the most exciting yet and we are proud to continue our support, from grassroots through to elite level during this crucial period.”
HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15
Round 1: Australia (Gold Coast) 11-12 Oct 2014
Round 2: Dubai 5-6 Dec 2014
Round 3: South Africa (Port Elizabeth) 13-14 Dec 2014
Round 4: New Zealand (Wellington) 6-7 Feb 2015
Round 5: USA (Las Vegas) 13-15 Feb 2015
Round 6: Hong Kong 27-29 Mar 2015
Round 7: Japan (Tokyo) 4-5 Apr 2015
Round 8: Scotland (Glasgow) 9-10 May 2015
Round 9: England (London) 16-17 May 2015
* Planet Rugby