The International Rugby Board has announced the inclusion of São Paulo as a host city of an expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series for 2013/14.
The new series aims to capitalise on a stellar debut season with rounds across the globe, kicking off with Dubai (November 28-30), then Atlanta (February 15-16), São Paulo (February 22-23), Guangzhao (April 4-6) and Amsterdam (May 16-17).
The IRB will confirm the destination of the sixth leg in due course, following unprecedented interest from Member Unions in hosting a round of the showcase series.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This announcement caps a great year for Women’s Sevens and follows an outstanding and highly competitive Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and a strong inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.”
“The appetite for hosting our marquee women’s events has never been higher and the inclusion of São Paulo in an expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series reflects the incredible growth of the women’s Game globally as well as tremendous excitement in Brazil about the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Rio 2016 programme.”
“Brazil boasts one of the world’s top-ranked international women’s teams and I have no doubt that the debut event at the Arena Barueri will prove popular and give us a taste of what to expect at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
The expansion of the WSWS also underscores the IRB’s commitment to grow Rugby in emerging markets and the São Paulo leg will complement hugely successful mass participations run by the IRB in the host nation of the 2016 Olympic Games, where Rugby Sevens will make its debut. This year the IRB is investing £350,000 in Rugby in Brazil.
Brazilian women's captain Julia Sardá added: "It's essential that Brazil gets to play more rugby, as we will host the next Olympic Games. Having the opportunity to play against the best teams in the world with family and friends watching is amazing and we hope to show to the world that Brazilian rugby is evolving."
Rugby World Cup Sevens and 2012/13 series champions New Zealand will face tough opposition as they set out to defend their crown. After the debut series with invitational teams, eight teams have earned core team status via reaching the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 quarter-finals and will compete across all six rounds.
2013/2014 CORE TEAMS:
AUSTRALIA, CANADA, ENGLAND, IRELAND, NEW ZEALAND, RUSSIA, SPAIN, USA
"Teams like Ireland will be eager to impress during this year's Women's Sevens World Series after qualifying as a core team from Moscow," said Mark Egan, IRB Head of Competitions and Performance.
"We saw some excellent performances from teams at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and I have no doubt we're going to see some really competitive match-ups during the series as these elite players get ready for Rio 2016."
Women's Sevens World Series 2013/14: Dates and Venues
First leg: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 28-30, 2013
Second leg: Atlanta, Georgia, USA, February 15-16, 2014
Third leg: Arena Barueri, São Paulo, Brazil, February 22-23, 2014
Fourth leg: Guangzhao University Town Stadium, Guangzhao, China, April 4-6 2014
Fifth leg: National Rugby Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. May 16-17, 2014
Final leg: TBC