International rugby sevens teams are set to compete in the second edition of an invitational beach competition to help promote the sport ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The tournament will be held on the Brazilian city’s famous Ipanema beach as the sevens version of the game readies itself for its Olympic bow next summer, in a country where the sport is not greatly established.
Due to be held on December 19, the men’s competition will feature hosts Brazil, Italy, Portugal and Argentina, with the latter fresh from reaching the final of the Cape Town HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series where they were beaten by hosts South Africa.
Brazil will compete against South American rivals Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay in the women’s event on the same day.
The competition, which enjoyed a successful debut in 2014, will be run by the Brazilian Rugby Union (CBRu) and will be supported by international governing body World Rugby.
“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,” said Sami Arap, CBRu President.
“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.”
Competition is set to be televised live on Sport TV 2 in Brazil, with action being held at a 1,000-seater arena on the beach.
Alongside the event, a dedicated children’s festival involving 500 boys and girls from World Rugby’s “Get Into Rugby Impact Beyond Rio 2016” participation and social inclusion programmes will take place, allowing the participants to learn rugby basics in a fun environment.
More than 100,000 children have been introduced to rugby this year through the Get Into Rugby scheme, with CBRu and World Rugby hoping to provide a platform to encourage new participants and audiences in the country.
“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,” said Bernard Lapasset, World Rugby President.
“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.”
- By Michael Pavitt, this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz