Dublin – Ireland, August 16, 2012: The International Rugby Board can confirm that the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) has reluctantly postponed hosting its round of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series. The decision follows a review of all operational requirements by the Union taken in full consultation with all stakeholders. The UAR will now focus on ensuring the delivery of an outstanding Sevens event in 2013/14 as well as the successful inauguration of Argentina into The Rugby Championship this year.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB understands and fully supports what was a very difficult decision for the UAR. They have kept us fully informed throughout the review process and we believe that the decision they have taken is in the best interests of the Union, Argentinean Rugby and the HSBC Sevens World Series.”
“The Union is dedicated to the delivery of a memorable and successful Series event that showcases Rugby in South America. By extending the delivery timescale we can work in partnership with the UAR and all stakeholders to ensure that the event in 2013/14 achieves all strategic aims, is beneficial for Rugby in Argentina and South America and secures its place on the Series as one of the must see events.”
UAR President Luis Castillo said: “This has been a difficult decision to take as we are excited about our HSBC Sevens World Series hosting opportunity. However, the logistical challenges are too significant to successfully deliver an event this year that is beneficial for all stakeholders and we would like to thank the IRB for their support and understanding in this matter. We are now all focused on ensuring that all the processes are in place to ensure that our debut in 2013/14 is a successful one.”
IRB Council Member for Argentina Agustín Pichot added: “We have worked tirelessly to deliver the outstanding event for teams, fans and Argentinean Rugby. However, we must ensure that player preparation time is paramount and unfortunately we cannot guarantee the logistics that achieve this important consideration this year. However, we are determined to resolve these issues in partnership with the IRB ahead of next year’s tournament with a considerable lead-in time and in the meantime look forward to our Rugby Championship debut.”
The 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series will comprise nine rounds:
Gold Coast (Australia) – October 13-14 2012
Dubai – November 30 – December 1
Port Elizabeth (South Africa) – December 2012 (Date TBC)
Wellington (New Zealand) – February 1-2 2013
Las Vegas (USA) – February 8-10 2013
Hong Kong – March 22-24 2013
Tokyo (Japan) – March 30-31 2013
Glasgow (Scotland) – May 4-5 2013
London (England) – May 11-12 2013
* Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 – June 28-30, Moscow (Russia)
HSBC Sevens World Series: The annual HSBC Sevens World Series is going from strength to strength. The 2011/12 Series achieved record broadcast and attendance figures with more than 550,000 fans in total attending one or more of the nine rounds and the captivating action accumulated a record 4,283 hours of total airtime – a 17 per cent increase on the previous season – with a dramatic uplift in live coverage, which rose 35 per cent to 1,565 hours. Television broadcast coverage reached a total of 152 territories across six continents, with 31 broadcasters showing action from the Series. Programming from the season of Sevens was carried in 16 languages and reached 374 million homes, with an estimated global audience of 850 million people.
IRB support of Argentina: The IRB has underwritten significant support for the UAR to ensure that the Union is able to compete at the top table. The IRB is providing an initial US$10 million funding package to substantially underwrite the Pumas’ entry into an expanded competition up to 2015. The contribution is in addition to the substantial multi-million dollar investment being made by SANZAR to facilitate the inclusion of Argentina in The Rugby Championship.
The IRB is investing US$18 million in Rugby development in South America between 2009 and 2012 and close to US$2 million annually in development and high performance programmes in Argentina. This significant investment helps fund the highly successful new national High Performance Academy, the Argentina Jaguars representative team and the national Under 20s and Sevens programmes, all of which underpin the future competiveness of the Pumas in The Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup. —- IRB