Olympic qualification at stake as bumper HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 schedule announ

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A blockbuster schedule for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 has been announced today with a full roster of teams and hosts as the dynamic, high octane Olympic sport continues to grow, evolve and engage new fans around the globe.

The competition will be intense from start to finish with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings.

The men’s Series will include a record-equalling 11 rounds, uniquely featuring two events in Hong Kong, which is set to host the first round on 04-06 November 2022.

The women’s Series involves a record seven rounds and will kick off in Dubai on 2-3 December 2022 in the first of four consecutive men’s and women’s combined events. Dubai is followed by Cape Town, South Africa on 09-11 December before all teams will compete in Hamilton, New Zealand (21-22 January) and Sydney, Australia (27-29 January) for the first time since 2020.

The men’s Series then lands in Los Angeles, USA on 25-26 February before a combined round in Vancouver, Canada on 3-5 March, which sees a change from previous Series as the women’s tournament joins together with the men’s in front of the famously large, loud and colourful crowd at BC Place.

Both men’s and women’s teams then move on to Hong Kong for the traditional blockbuster event on 31 March – 2 April, followed by a men’s round in Singapore on 8-9 April.

The women’s Series will reach it’s exciting conclusion in Toulouse, France as part of a combined event on 12-14 May, with the men’s finale coming a week later in London, England on 20-21 May to bring down the curtain on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023.

Following a dominant display in 2022 Australia’s women will be aiming to defend their crown in 2023 but will face stiff competition from the likes of Olympic medallists New Zealand, France and Fiji, along with the impressive USA and fast improving Ireland among others.

The men’s 2022 Series title is yet to be decided with the final round taking place in Los Angeles on 27-28 August following an outstanding, highly competitive event in front of more than 74,000 fans at Twickenham Stadium in London over the past weekend.

South Africa won the first four rounds in succession before double Olympic champions Fiji returned to the Series with thrilling title winning performances in Singapore and Toulouse, while Argentina claimed their first Series victory in 14 years in Vancouver, and Australia took gold in London. With the likes of Olympic silver medallists New Zealand also back in action the 2023 Series promises to be very hotly contested.

Before the 2023 Series kicks off, rugby sevens players and fans will enjoy a very busy and exciting period over the forthcoming months with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England on 29-31 July, followed by the climax of the men’s 2022 Series in Los Angeles in August and the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on 9-11 September.

A World Rugby Challenger Series event is also set to take place in August, providing a pathway for one men’s and one women’s team to gain promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023. Details of the Challenger Series event are due to be announced shortly.

Following outstanding men’s and women’s competitions at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2021, the Series continues to reach new fans. Independent research showed rugby sevens’ second Olympic appearance to be hugely impactful for the sport in engaging and inspiring new, younger and more diverse fans across the globe, particularly in emerging rugby nations with 54 per cent agreeing the Olympics increased their interest in the sport and 63 per cent watching sevens for the first time.

World Rugby’s youth oriented social media content from the Olympic Games in Tokyo achieved huge success with 22 million video views, more than 100 million impressions and 3.4 million public engagements from 2,400 posts across five World Rugby platforms as part of the international federation’s ‘This is how we sevens’ engagement campaign.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “Following a uniquely challenging period for global sport, we are delighted to announce that rugby sevens is back to full force with a full line-up of hosts and teams for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2023, which is the biggest to date.

“Fans around the world can mark their calendars and look ahead with excitement and certainty to a Series which promises to be highly competitive and intense from the start to finish with Paris 2024 Olympic qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings.

“The sense of anticipation from players and fans to return to much-loved venues such as Hong Kong, Hamilton and Sydney is especially high after missing out in recent years due to the effects of the global pandemic, and we are pleased to see Vancouver welcome the women’s tournament as part of a combined event in 2023.”

“I would like to express gratitude to our title partner HSBC, as well as DHL, Capgemini and Gilbert for their excellent support and commitment to the Series over what has been a challenging period for all. Thanks also to our host partners and all stakeholders who put in a tremendous effort to help us deliver a Series that goes from strength to strength.

“Research insights have demonstrated that sevens plays a vital role in reaching and engaging new fans, particularly in emerging rugby nations and World Rugby is fully committed to the sustainable growth, innovation and success of rugby sevens as a highly impactful and successful Olympic sport with a very bright future.”

HSBC Global Head of Brand and Brand Partnerships Jonathan Castleman said: “We are thrilled that the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returns to full strength in 2023 as we work with together with World Rugby to build back better following a challenging period for the world and the game.

“We are also looking forward to seeing more of the men’s and women’s teams playing together at more legs around the world as we continue to celebrate and strive for more opportunities for the players.”

Jamie Levchuk, Interim CEO and Managing Director, Revenue and Fan Engagement, Rugby Canada said: “We are delighted to confirm we will be hosting a combined women’s and men’s HSBC Canada Sevens event in Vancouver in 2023. We have strived to provide an equal platform for the women’s and men’s games and we’re excited to welcome the best women’s and men’s Sevens teams in the world to BC Place for a three-day event on 3-5 March, 2023.

“We would like to acknowledge the City of Langford for being such an incredible host of our HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens since 2015. Langford remains the home of Rugby Canada and we look forward to continuing hosting international events at Starlight Stadium in the future.”.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS