The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series has been given a further boost with the announcement that Clermont-Ferrand will host the fifth and final round on May 28-29, 2016.
Following a thrilling opening event in Dubai two weeks ago, the world’s top Women Sevens players, including the Anthony Eddy-coached Ireland squad, will travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil (20-21 February), as well as back-to-back events in Atlanta, USA (9-10 April), and Langford, Canada (16-17 April), before heading to Europe and the rugby-mad city of Clermont-Ferrand for the series finale.
Ireland finished 12th in the recent Dubai leg, boosted by an opening pool win over the USA. They have been drawn with series leaders Australia, Canada and Fiji for the pool stages of the Sao Paulo tournament in February.
With Women’s rugby experiencing unprecedented growth and more than 25% of the 7.2 million rugby players worldwide being female, these are exciting times on and off the field.
With the road to Rio 2016 driving interest and participation, the Clermont-Ferrand announcement adds to an exciting and extensive competition calendar in 2015/16 that includes the global qualification process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, culminating with the Repechage tournament at Dublin’s UCD Bowl on June 25-26, before the world’s top women take to sport’s greatest stage at Rio in August.
World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan said: “This is one of the biggest years in Sevens’ history for both the Men’s and Women’s game. With HSBC and DHL now on board as global sponsors, the Women’s game has reached a new level of competition and exposure ahead of Rio 2016.
“The five rounds will provide a crucial preparation platform for the teams that have already qualified for Rio and also help the teams that are preparing for the Women’s final Olympic repechage, which will take place in Ireland.”
President of the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR), Pierre Camou, added: “The FFR is very committed to the development of Women’s and Men’s Sevens in France. When discussions started to host a leg in the Women’s Series, there was no doubt the FFR had to bid.
“We wanted to build on our experience of organising other big Women’s rugby competitions, such as Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, which was a huge success. Also, for France’s Women’s Sevens teams, just like their male counterparts, to be able to play in front of their home supporters before flying to Rio will be very beneficial.
“I am therefore very pleased for the Women’s players but also for the development of the Sevens that World Rugby has trusted us with hosting this round of the tournament.”
The stadium announcement for the fifth round of the Women’s Series will be announced in due course and tickets will go on sale in the New Year.