Rugby in Russia set for huge boost

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 12 December 2012  
 Rugby in Russia set for huge boost
Moscow will form a spectacular backdrop to RWC Sevens 2013

Staging Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow will be a shot in the arm for Rugby in Russia and the catalyst for accelerated growth in that country, according to the Vice-President of the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR).

Speaking in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he was making a presentation to the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR), Howard Thomas said that with less than seven months to go before RWC Sevens 2013 kicks off in Moscow, the local excitement was already building.

Thomas said: “Hosting this tournament in Moscow is hugely important to Russian Rugby. It will accelerate interest and participation in our country. Rugby is already going from strength to strength and we are determined to make this event a success."

"I can promise all fans that they will be made to feel at home in our beautiful capital city and I am sure they will enjoy the party. It has never been easier to travel to Moscow with a simplified visa process, appointed Official Travel Agents and attractive ticket pricing.”

The RUR delegation’s visit to Port Elizabeth coincided with the staging of the HSBC Sevens World Series round in the Eastern Cape city and follows the official handing over of the two cups to Vladimir Pavlov of the RUR at a special ceremony the previous week in Dubai. RWC Sevens 2013 organisers also recently presented to the FIRA-AER Assembly in Paris as well as Rugby World Cup Limited in Dublin.

Thomas added: “Our delegation that has travelled to Dubai and now Port Elizabeth has been hugely impressed with the success of the HSBC Sevens World Series and the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. We are fully aware of our responsibility to ensure RWC Sevens 2013 continues the incredible progress of Rugby Sevens for players and fans alike. We are determined to deliver a spectacular event en route to the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio."

Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Following the success of Dubai in hosting RWC Sevens 2009, we are all looking forward to next year’s edition. That anticipation is heightened even more knowing it is set to take place in such a vibrant and exciting place as Moscow.”

“It is important that we continue to push the boundaries of Rugby and grow the Game beyond its traditional heartlands so it’s great to hear it means so much to Russian Rugby to have this opportunity.”

Rugby is accelerating in growth and interest in Russia, boosted by the country's love and support of Olympic sports. A strong schools programme in the Moscow region, two professional leagues with strong attendances and a passion for major sporting events points to a very strong crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the Olympic Games in 1980 and, more recently, has staged other top-level sporting events, including the 2008 UEFA Champions League final.

The Sevens experience will be further enhanced with a cultural, music and food festival set to provide an additional dimension to a sport that is globally renowned for its high-quality entertainment on and off the field of play.

Working in partnership with the City of Moscow and Russian Government, the RUR has been able to implement an attractive ticketing programme, starting at just US$5 to attract a new wave of Rugby fans.

Qualified teams for RWC Sevens 2013

Men’s: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Tonga, Tunisia, USA, Wales, Zimbabwe. The final place will be taken by the winners of the South American Sevens Championship in Rio de Janeiro on February 23-24).

Women’s: Australia, Canada, China, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia and USA. The final place will be taken by the winners of the South American Sevens Championship in Rio de Janeiro on February 23-24.