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Dubai to Kick Off 2008/2009 IRB Sevens World Series

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Friday, 18 July 2008

The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is to once again launch the IRB Sevens World Series. Earlier this week, the International Rugby Board (IRB) confirmed the dates of the eight international tournaments to form the 2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series, which marks the 10-year anniversary of Rugby's highly successful and popular international Grand Prix-style event.

The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which this year moves to Emirates purpose built sports facility The Sevens, will kick-start the Series from November 28-29, four months before hosting the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 (March 5-7).

As in previous years, eight tournaments are packaged into pairs with two tournaments played a week apart. Dubai and George (South Africa) are the first pair of tournaments.

We are delighted to once again be the city to start the Sevens World Series and with the event moving to The Sevens this year there is a tremendous amount of excitement and anticipation, said Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group. Preparations are in full swing and we are extremely pleased with the huge progress which has taken place to be ready for this years Sevens and then the Rugby World Cup Sevens in March next year.

Along with the IRB tournament, competitions featuring International Invitation, Gulf, Local Social, Ladies, Veterans, and Youth will see all six grass pitches at the new venue in almost constant use over three days (November 27-29).

Dubai is unique because it also hosts local and social competitions alongside the IRB Series and once again we will see almost 2,000 players from right around the world coming to Dubai for the regions showpiece rugby event, added Chapman. Added to this, The Sevens will have a capacity of 40,000 people which is great news for those wanting to get their hands on the hottest tickets in town.

San Diego (USA), Adelaide (Australia) and Edinburgh (Scotland) will be hosting a World Series tournament for the third time in the coming season and, along with the Twickenham event in London, all attracted strong crowds in the 2007/08 season.

The Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens will once again provide the stage for the climax to the IRB Sevens World Series, in which New Zealand will be defending its title as champions for the seventh time having won eight of the nine Series contested to date. Keen to wrest the title away in 2008/09 will be teams such as Fiji, South Africa, Argentina, Samoa, England and Australia. In all, over 30 teams will participate in the eight-tournament series.

The IRB Sevens World Series, along with the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai, will be an integral part of the further promotion of Sevens Rugby to the world sporting community including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as the IRB continues its campaign to see rugby re-introduced into the Olympic Games. 

The Series has enjoyed significant growth since its inception in 1999/2000, when it was launched to further promote Rugby Sevens as a true discipline of rugby, to grow and develop rugby in developing countries and to consolidate into an official series a host of international tournaments that existed around the world.

The 2007/08 IRB Sevens World Series enjoyed impressive growth in its broadcast figures with last season regarded as the most successful to date.

The Series was televised by a record 33 international broadcasters in 13 different languages and reached 223 million homes (an increase of 10 million on 2006/07) in 135 countries.

According to TV production partner ProActive Television, the potential global cumulative reach was 556 million, up 24 million on the previous year. Live coverage again increased to 952 hours, while total television coverage - encompassing the popular delayed-live format - increased by 32% to 1945 hours.

2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series

Dubai, UAE - 28-29 November 2008
George, South Africa - 5-6 December 2008
Wellington, New Zealand - 6-7 February 2009
San Diego, USA - 14-15 February 2009
** RWC Sevens, men & women, Dubai - 5-7 March 2009 **
Hong Kong - 27-29 March 2009
Adelaide, Australia - 4-5 April 2009
London, England - 23-24 May 2009
Edinburgh, Scotland - 30-31 May 2009

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