International Rugby Lands in Houston! The International Rugby Board (www.irb.com) and USA Rugby (www.usarugby.org) announced today that Houston has been awarded a multi-year deal to host the International Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series featuring 12 international women’s teams competing at BBVA Compass Stadium, an AEG Facility, (www.bbvacompassstadium.com) on February 1 & 2, 2013.
This two-day International Series, the first of its kind for women,signifies the IRB’s on-going growth and development of women’s rugby around the world. The event will take place annually in Houston through 2015, leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where rugby will debut as one of the new Olympic sports. The inaugural global Series for the world’s top Women’s Sevens players will feature rounds in UAE (Dubai), the United States (Houston), China (Guangzhou), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).
“This is a breakthrough moment for women’s international rugby and the USA Eagles. As the team prepares for the 2016 Olympics, this Series will be instrumental in giving them the competition they need to compete for gold,” said USA Rugby President Nigel Melville.
The women’s tournament system mirrors the men’s Series, with each 12-team event featuring six core teams who will play across all four events and six teams who will be invited, based on regional tournament rankings, reflecting the IRB’s strategic aim to mix the top teams in the world with the best up-and-coming teams from each of the six IRB regions.
The six core teams for the inaugural Houston series are: Australia, Canada, England, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States. The 2013 event also includes: Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Japan, Argentina, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Women’s Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world and in 2016, the finest female players in the world will take their place alongside their male counterparts in Rio de Janeiro when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games program. The inception of an international Series is a key milestone in the on-going development of both the competitive standards and the professionalism of the women’s Game.
In conjunction with the tournament, the participating organizations aim to empower women through sports, education, and community outreach programs. The event has partnered with the Houston Area Women’s Center (www.hawc.org) and will donate $1.00 from each event ticket sold. In addition, players from the international teams will also participate in a variety of activities and community outreach programs during their time in Houston.
AEG (www.aegworldwide.com), the parent company of both BBVA Compass Stadium and the Houston Dynamo, has agreed to sponsor the donation to the Houston Area Women’s Center.
“BBVA Compass Stadium is thrilled to welcome USA Rugby back to Houston for an event of this caliber,” said stadium general manager Doug Hall. “Our inaugural rugby match was very successful and we’re pleased to be able to not only host international teams over the next three years, but to be able to give back to the community through our partnership with the Houston Area Women’s Center. We look forward to giving rugby fans more opportunities to experience world-class, international talent here in Houston leading into the 2016 Olympic events.”
Two-day passes for the tournament will start at $15 and be available beginning Monday, October 22 at 10 a.m. online at www.bbvacompassstadium.com and www.axs.com, or by calling 888-929-7849 or at the BBVA Compass Stadium Ticket Office. Discounted two-day passes for groups of 10 or more will also be available online starting October 22. Tickets to individual sessions will be available at a later date.