Newly-crowned IRB Sevens World Series champions Samoa are named in a strong line-up of nations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens tournament in Delhi in October.
Samoa, who secured their first IRB Sevens World Series crown with victory in the Emirates Airline Scotland Sevens last weekend, will be joined by reigning Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens champions New Zealand, hosts India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga , Canada and Guyana in the 16-team tournament on October 11-12.
With Rugby Sevens now an Olympic sport, the tournament will be the first opportunity to see its winning blend of high-paced action and competitive matches in a multi-sport Games environment since the sport was voted into the Olympic Programme at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen last October.
Not only will the Delhi Games provide the opportunity to further showcase on a global level a sport that is a hit with audiences, broadcasters and sponsors around the world, it will also deliver a unique platform for developing Rugby throughout India and South Asia.
“We firmly believe that the Sevens tournament at the Commonwealth Games plays an important role in the ongoing development and promotion of Rugby around the world, attracting some of the world’s top players, delivering exciting matches and attracting new fans thanks to the remarkable talent of all the international teams competing,” said IRB President Bernard Lapasset.
“The Sevens tournament at the Commonwealth Games has always proven successful, achieving sell-out crowds, and this year we are particularly excited that the competition is being held in India where Rugby is reaching out to new young audiences in a rapidly developing market for our sport. We are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting tournament.”
Rugby Sevens has grown to become a headline event for the Commonwealth Games. A record crowd of 50,000 attended the final session of the Rugby Sevens Tournament at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and with 100,000 tickets sold over two days it was the second most watched sport at the Games after athletics.
“The Rugby Sevens tournament has grown to become one of the hottest attractions of the Commonwealth Games sporting programme, providing an excellent spectacle for fans and participants alike,” said Mike Hooper, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
"The inclusion of some of the world’s best Sevens teams and star players from every corner of the world will broaden the Games’ global appeal even further.”
The Pools and Tournament Schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
Notes to editors:
• Rugby Sevens was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur 1998
• The Rugby Sevens final at the Commonwealth Games 2006 in Melbourne was a record crowd for the seven-a-side format with 150,000 attending the three competition days.
• 16 teams take part in the Commonwealth Games, including the host nation
• Following Delhi, the next Commonwealth Games will be in Glasgow in 2014