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Asian Rugby Sevens Series Begins in Shanghai This Weekend

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 Rugby Sevens in Asia will receive a major boost this weekend as the opening tournament of the inaugural Asian Rugby Sevens Series kicks off in China.

The Shanghai Sevens, played at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club, is the first of six exciting two-day events which make up the regional Series sanctioned by the International Rugby Board and the Asian Rugby Football Union.

The tournament will feature national teams from all over Asia including hosts China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Chinese Taipei and represents the true spread of Rugby Sevens across a region that has a strong appetite for its non-stop action format.

"With Rugby Sevens enjoying an increasing profile in Asia, the Asian Rugby Sevens Series represents an exciting opportunity for the Sport to reach out to new fans in the region, people who are increasingly drawn to the appeal of an event that showcases skill, speed and strength in a unique festival environment," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"The superb performances of the Asian teams at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 was a highlight of the Dubai tournament with China and Thailand featuring in the inaugural Women's event and Japan and Hong Kong in the men's tournament. TV viewing figures for Sevens continue to grow in Asia, while the Rugby Sevens tournament at the World Games in Chinese Taipei in July attracted a crowd of 37,000."

"With Rugby Sevens and Golf recommended by the IOC Executive Board for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games, the establishment of an Asian Sevens Series is another massive boost for a Sport that truly enjoys universal appeal for men and women," Lapasset added.

After Shanghai, the Series will move to the Philippines, Brunei, Borneo and Iran finishing with the Sri Lanka Sevens on November 28-29.

Regional Sevens tournaments play an important role in the development of Rugby Sevens around the world. In addition to Asia, existing Series in Europe, Africa, Oceania, North America and South America provide the platform for developing nations to test themselves in an international class environment, while also providing a clear pathway to gaining a place in the record-breaking annual IRB Sevens World Series.

The IRB Sevens World Series 2009-10 kicks off with the first of eight events covering four continents in Dubai on December 4-5.

Asian Rugby Sevens Series 2009 Schedule

Shanghai Sevens, China - September 12-13
Subic Sevens, Philippines - October 10-11
Brunei Sevens - October 24-25
Borneo Sevens, Kota Kinabalu - October 31 - November 1
Kish Island Sevens, Iran - November 20-22
Sri Lanka Sevens, November 28-29

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