Teams set for new Tokyo Sevens
Story and Photo: www.irbsevens.com
The IRB and Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) have announced the line-up of teams to compete in the newly introduced Tokyo Sevens, round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
In addition to the 12 core teams who compete at every event - New Zealand, South Africa, England, Fiji, Samoa, Australia, Wales, Argentina, Kenya, France, Scotland, and USA - hosts Japan will be joined by fellow Asian team Hong Kong as well as European pair Portugal and Russia.
“It is a great honour that we host the Tokyo Sevens 2012 as a part of the prestigious HSBC Sevens World Series," said Mr. Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of the JRFU.
"Through 44 matches of the world’s best Rugby Sevens, we will bring Japanese rugby fans and sports lovers a whole new experience of Rugby Sevens.”
Yabe also commented that that the Tokyo Sevens is seen as a huge boost to the rapid development of the country's national Sevens side, which has set itself the strategic goal of winning a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The hosting of the tournament is also a vital step towards 2019.
"It is essential for us to accumulate the valuable experience of managing tournaments like the Tokyo Sevens, which is one of the highest profile sports tournaments, for the success of the Rugby World Cup 2019,” he said.
Currently after three rounds of the Series, in Australia, Dubai and South Africa, nine-time World Series champions New Zealand is tied for first place with Fiji. South Africa lie in third place with England and France fourth and fifth.