Dublin – Ireland, Jan 14, 2013: The International Rugby Board has announced the match schedule for the eagerly anticipated second round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, the USA Women’s Rugby Sevens in Houston, USA.
Twelve international sides from six continents will compete at the BBVA Compass Stadium on 1-2 February, with tournament hosts USA facing a mouth-watering clash with staunch rivals Canada on day one.
The landmark event for USA Rugby will also offer Argentina, Japan and Trinidad and Tobago the chance to make their first appearances on the Series. They replace Spain, France and China from the opening round in Dubai in December 2012.
After their magnificent win at the inaugural round in Dubai, New Zealand’s women head Pool A and face two other core sides in England and the Netherlands, as well as the debutants from Trinidad and Tobago.
Having performed heroics in reaching the final in round one in Dubai, South Africa start in Houston as second seeds. They line up in Pool B and face the daunting challenge of both North American heavyweights, hosts USA and Canada, as well as the improving Argentineans, now under the coaching eye of the Sevens game’s all-time leading men’s try-scorer, Santiago Gomez Cora.
With Spain not competing in Houston, Pool C is headed by the fourth-ranked side in the Series standings after round one, Australia. Tim Lane’s side faces one of the surprise packages from Dubai, Russia, as well as South American champions Brazil and Asian newcomers Japan.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Our women’s players made history in Dubai by competing at the magnificent first round of this inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and the quality of Rugby witnessed by more than 40,000 in the stands and millions around the world offered immediate proof that this will develop into a popular and competitive Series.”
“Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium has recently been hugely successful in hosting Test match Rugby for the US Eagles and we look forward to a well-attended and successful tournament.”
“Just three years now remain until many of these women prepare to compete in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games and for them to have their own Series is a major and essential step forward. 2013 also offers the allure of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow at the end of June, so these World Series tournaments also offer an intriguing form guide.”
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series 2012/13
The system mirrors the men’s Series, with each 12-team event featuring six core teams who will play across all four events and six teams who will be invited based on regional tournament rankings, reflecting the IRB’s strategic aim to mix the top teams in the world with the best up and coming teams from each of the six IRB Regional Associations. The six core teams for the inaugural Series are Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
Women’s Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world and in 2016, the finest female players in the world will take their place alongside their male counterparts in Rio de Janeiro when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games programme. The inception of an international Series is a key milestone in the ongoing development of both the competitive standards and the professionalism of the Women’s Game.
The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series concept is in line with key strategic objectives set out in the IRB Women’s Rugby Plan, expanding the Women’s Sevens international competition model, particularly at the elite level of the Game.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, 30 November-1 December 2012 – 7he Sevens (winners: New Zealand)
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February 2013 – BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 – Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 – NRCA Stadium. —- IRB