Fiji celebrates a recent win in Hong Kong. Photo: rugbywrapup
Fiji will win its first Olympic Games medal in Rio de Janeiro, says IRB chief executive Brett Gosper.
“Fiji will surprise the world but not us (IRB) if they win their country’s first-ever Olympic medal,” Gosper said when questioned what nations will surprise when rugby sevens will be included for the first time in the biggest global sporting event.
Gosper was fielding questions from rugby followers on Olympic Day on Tuesday and he believes the sport will be a big hit in Rio.
Benedito Masilevu (R) leads an attack for Fiji. Photo: News Limited
Brive have announced the signing of Sevens international finisher Benito Masilevu, who has become the latest Fijian player to arrive in French rugby.
The 24-year-old flyer was the second highest try-scorer on this season’s IRB Sevens World Series, scoring 27 tries over the nine-leg tournament.
Masilevu joins fellow Fijians Sisaro Koyamaibole, Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Malakai Radikadike in their ranks ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
Holders New Zealand
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.
The Brazil women’s and men’s teams automatically qualify as hosts of the Olympics. Photo: IRB
The International Rugby Board has announced that the Brazil men’s and women’s teams will automatically qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Rugby Sevens events.
Confirmation follows ratification by the International Olympic Committee of the inaugural Rugby Sevens qualification process that will feature a blend of the existing men’s and women’s Series structures, regional competitions and a world play-off, ensuring universal representation and the participation of the best teams and players.
Serevi at a HSBC Rugby Sevens Festival programme. Photo: IRB
Two of the greatest players to have played Rugby Sevens are excited by the potential growth of the sport of Rugby in Olympic host nation Brazil ahead of the 2016 Games.
Former Fiji star Waisale Serevi and the all-time leading points scorer in Sevens Ben Gollings saw first-hand the excitement and appetite for the game having spent two days coaching youngsters new to the sport.
Speaking at an HSBC Rugby Festivals programme, powered by Serevi, the Fijian, “It’s been a privilege to come and teach these little kids rugby, and I have seen a lot of talent from these children.”
Fiji fans could be cheering for their heroes at home soon. Photo: Planet Rugby
After expressing interest earlier this year, Fiji will be invited to bid for the right to host an HSBC World Sevens Series leg.
The hosting rights of the tournaments’ series will end in 2016 which will then give Fiji the chance to contest the hosting one of the IRB Sevens World Series legs and the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
IRB Sevens manager Beth Coalter told the Fiji Times the governing body had sought expressions of interest from all member unions, including Fiji.
“We have written out to member unions asking for expressions of interest,” said Coalter.