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Mon, 18 March 2019

New Look for Menís and Womenís HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019-23

World Rugby has unveiled a new look menís and womenís HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which includes at least six combined menís and womenís events, as the womenís series increases to eight rounds for the first time in its history over the next four-year cycle.

Dubai, Cape Town, New Zealand, Sydney, Hong Kong and Paris will host combined menís and womenís sevens events from next season onwards as part of the next four-year world series hosting cycle.

In the womenís series, the USA Womenís Sevens will again be hosted in Glendale, Colorado, with Langford, British Columbia, also remaining as a standalone event next season.

In addition, nine out of ten host locations for the next four-year cycle of the menís HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019-2023 three have also been confirmed.

Action from the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Picture taken by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

As popularity and profile of rugby sevens continues to grow both on and off the field, boosted by Olympic inclusion, World Rugby saw unprecedented global interest, receiving more than 20 expressions of interest from member unions, as part of the highly competitive tender process.

Nine existing menís world series destinations Ė Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris Ė are set to feature again as part of the next four-year cycle, with the host location in the USA to be confirmed at a later stage in the season.

Player welfare and travel blocks continue to be an important component of the tender considerations alongside delivery of high-performance facilities and overall ability to contribute to the key strategic growth of the series.

The Dubai Sevens, which has featured as a host venue since the inaugural series in 1999-2000 and a combined event since 2012, remains linked with Cape Town, a new combined menís and womenís event, which has seen phenomenal success as a host venue since relocating from Port Elizabeth at the beginning of the last four-year cycle in 2015.

Hamilton, the newest venue on the menís series having hosted its inaugural event in 2018, becomes a new combined event for both menís and womenís teams. Sydney and Vancouver, both newcomers to the menís series calendar having been appointed in 2015, also retain their host venue status, with Sydney continuing as a combined event.

In Asia, seasoned world series hosts Hong Kong expands to a combined series round and will again be linked with Singapore, which remains a menís standalone round, who earned host venue rights as part of the competitionís expansion in 2015.

London and Paris are also confirmed as the European hosts for the next four years with Paris set to again host both menís and womenís series from next season onwards.

Action from the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Picture taken by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said, "This is an exciting time for sevens as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is set to break new ground with more combined rounds than ever before on the circuit, as Cape Town, Hamilton and Hong Kong welcome womenís world series teams for the first time from next season. We are delighted to see the womenís series expand to eight rounds over the next four-year cycle, an historic move that will provide more high quality competitive international playing opportunities for womenís sevens teams, a core strand of our Accelerating the Global Development of Women in Rugby plan. For the menís series, the selected hosts represent a consistent balance of long-established and newer venues, with the five host unions who joined in 2015 retaining their host status. Since the menís seriesí expansion to 10 rounds in 2015, we have seen the competition become increasingly competitive on the pitch from a team perspective while also continuing to grow in popularity among global audiences. We are looking forward to seeing continued growth and evolution of the world series in each territory over the next four years."

Rugby sevens continues to grow, engage and attract global audiences. In 2018, the world series saw record-breaking fan engagement figures with an increase of 60% across video views when compared with 2017 and attracted more than 749,800 attendees to events globally.

The growth trend continued in broadcast viewing figures with Nielsen research recording a 39% increase in live broadcast audiences across both menís and womenís series, from nine million in 2017 to 12.6 million viewers in 2018.

Action from the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Picture taken by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Next seasonís series will be vital as qualified core menís and womenís teams prepare to compete not only on the world series but also at the Olympic Games which takes place from 27 July-1 August at Tokyo Stadium.

With the newly-expanded womenís series, qualified teams will have more high quality, competitive playing opportunities than ever before as they prepare to participate at Tokyo 2020.

The full menís and womenís HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019-20 schedule and dates will be confirmed at a later stage in 2019.

Jonathan Castleman, HSBC Global Head of Brand Partnerships said, "The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is in an exciting period of explosive growth and remains a constantly changing frontier full of potential. The impressive growth of the womenís game is undoubtedly one of the biggest drivers of this, with new talent emerging and more eyeballs than ever before on the womenís series. With this in mind, todayís announcement is hugely exciting for us and we look forward to continuing our role as an active partner, working alongside World Rugby and the local unions, to help rugby sevens thrive around the world for years to come."

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015, Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

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