International rugby sevens stars will compete in the annual invitational beach rugby competition at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro on 19 December to promote rugby sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Supported by World Rugby and run by the Confederaçao Brasileira de Rugby (CBRu) , the event will deliver a fitting celebration of rugby sevens as excitement and interest in the high-octane sport continues to grow within Rio and across Brazil ahead of the Games. Following a successful debut in 2014, a stellar men’s line up will see Cape Town HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series finalists and Rio 2016 qualifiers Argentina joined by fellow Rio 2016 team Brazil along with Italy and Portugal. A strong women’s line-up features Rio 2016 teams Brazil and Colombia alongside Argentina and Uruguay in what promises to be a compelling, action-packed event. The event, which will be televised live on Sport TV 2 in Brazil, will take place at the 1,000-seater arena on the beach and will kick-off at 14:00 local time. Running alongside the competition will be a dedicated children’s festival involving 500 boys and girls from World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby Impact Beyond Rio 2016 mass participation and social inclusion programmes, learning rugby basics in a fun environment.
Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in Brazil, and with more than 100,000 children having been introduced to rugby in 2015 through Get Into Rugby, the Brazilian Rugby Union and World Rugby is committed to ensuring that Rio 2016 provides a platform to inspire and engage new participants and audiences. World Rugby President Bernard Lapasset said: “We are excited about rugby sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which is less than nine months away, and the opportunity to reach and inspire new audiences via participation on sport’s biggest stage. “Rugby sevens’ winning blend of speed, close competition and entertainment is proving a hit with young audiences, broadcasters and commercial partners and I am confident that Rio will love sevens. This is why we believe rugby sevens will be great for the Olympics, great for Brazil and great for rugby. CBRu President Sami Arap added: “There is no better way to celebrate our sport and bring the curtain down on a great year than with a world-class international beach rugby event in Rio.
Beach rugby is hugely exciting, packed with skill, speed and entertainment and I am sure that the people of Rio will love the action once again as we head into a new year where rugby sevens will take centre stage at Rio 2016. “I would like to thank the Rio city authorities and World Rugby for their support and commitment to grow rugby in Brazil beyond the Games.” Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength with the new-look 10-location HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series proving the most competitive to date after two rounds of compelling action in Dubai and Cape Town, while the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series got off to an electric start in Dubai. With series points over 2014-15 and 2015-16 determining the seeding for Rio 2016, the action is set to be thrilling. With the global qualification process for the Rio Games nearing its conclusion and all but one team for each of the men’s and women’s competitions to be confirmed, tickets are proving popular with both domestic and international fans.