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The San Francisco Bay area will host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 after the World Rugby Council awarded hosting rights for the prestigious event to USA Rugby.
The magnificent AT&T Park in San Francisco, supported by Avaya Stadium in San Jose, will provide an impressive stage for the world’s top men's and women's rugby sevens players to showcase their talent ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The competition dates will be announced in due course.
A major tourism and sports location with a strong rugby community, the San Francisco Bay area boasts superb facilities that will ensure that the 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams have everything that they require in their quest to be crowned world champions.
The reigning men’s and women’s world champions are New Zealand following a compelling event in Moscow in 2013 and San Francisco’s hosting offers another opportunity to showcase rugby to new audiences in a rapidly growing market for the sport.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby sevens continues to go from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe with its winning blend of compelling and competitive action, global destinations and festival atmosphere.
"Rugby World Cup Sevens is at the heart of the success story and we are delighted to be awarding these prestigious hosting rights to USA Rugby after a competitive process.
"I am sure that the San Francisco Bay area, with its major event experience and passion for sport, will be a popular and spectacular Rugby World Cup Sevens host."
The event will provide a perfect opportunity for rugby to capture hearts and minds in the USA, where rugby participation and interest continues to experience record growth with more than one million men, women and children now regularly playing what is one of the nation’s fastest growing team sports.
USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville said: "We are delighted to be chosen to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens and look forward to delivering a fantastic rugby sevens experience for the players, fans, sponsors and media.
"Hosting a Rugby World Cup is an important step forward for rugby in the USA and will bring high levels of visibility and interest for the game in the country. We will also be using the opportunity to develop Impact 2018, a national legacy programme for the whole USA Rugby community."
With rugby sevens set to make its Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016, World Rugby took the decision last year to move Rugby World Cup Sevens back one year into the middle of the Olympic cycle to maximise the sport’s integration onto the Olympic Games programme.
Lapasset added: "With an expanded 10-destination World Rugby Sevens Series beginning in 2015-16, Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in the USA and rugby sevens set to make its Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016, these are exciting times for the sport as we continue to reach out, engage and inspire new audiences around the world."