- Planning and preparation on track as Deodoro rugby venue set for inauguration
- Test event doubles as Sudamérica Rugby Women’s Sevens
- Brazil start as favourites having won every event since 2004
- New training and legacy venue inaugurated by Brazil’s Sports Minister
History will be made over the weekend when South America’s top sevens players participate in the Aquece Rio International Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament at the Deodoro Olympic Park.
It has been 92 years since rugby was last represented on sport’s biggest stage and the two-day, eight-team test event that doubles as the 2016 Sudamerica Rugby Women’s Sevens Championship, will provide the opportunity for important operational testing and readiness ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s and women’s rugby sevens from 6-11 August.
Excitement is building in Brazil ahead of rugby’s return and planning and preparation is on track to deliver what promises to be a popular 15,000 capacity temporary rugby and modern pentathlon stadium at the heart of the vibrant Deodoro Olympic Park.
And momentum continued on Friday when Brazil’s Sports Minister George Hilton joined key figures from Rio 2016, World Rugby and the Confederação Brasileira de Rugby (CBRu) in inaugurating the Campo de Rugby Professor Manoel Joes Gomes Tubino, a purpose-built high-performance training venue at Rio’s Federal University.
The training venue, a key element of the Rio 2016 legacy programme, will also serve as a training venue for the men’s and women’s teams during the Olympic Games and is set to provide a permanent facility for rugby in Rio after the Games.
The venue adds to a strong legacy programme that has seen more than 100,000 children introduced to rugby in Brazil through World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme, run in partnership with the CBRu.
Brazil and Colombia’s women, hot favourites to win this weekend, were the first teams to use the new facility and were impressed by what they saw.
Brazil have won every South America championship since 2004, and star player Baby Futuro said: “This weekend represents an exciting moment for the South American and global rugby communities and we are proud to be the first teams to play at the Deodoro rugby venue.
“There is so much excitement around rugby in Brazil at the moment because of the Games and our men's 15 team’s victory over USA in the Americas Rugby Championship, which is great for rugby and great for the Games.”
World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan, who is in Rio for the test event, added: “We are excited about the test event, which marks an important milestone ahead of what promises to be spectacular men’s and women’s rugby sevens events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Games readiness is an important exercise for both the Rio 2016 organising committee and World Rugby. The Deodoro venue looks great and we are all looking forward to a great weekend of international rugby sevens.
“Rugby sevens’ winning blend of high-octane action, close competition and entertainment is proving a hit with young audiences, broadcasters and commercial partners. It is a proven success in all other multi-sport Games and I am confident that Rio will love sevens.”
The test event in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Rio 2016 venue cluster, kicks off on Saturday at 10:00 local time. It will be contested by Brazil and Colombia, who have both qualified for the Olympic Games, Argentina and Venezuela, who will be among 16 teams competing for the final place at the global repechage event in Dublin in June, as well as Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Peru.
Sudamérica Rugby Chairman Carlos Barbieri added: “That the Olympics Games are played in our region is huge for all of us and we are already seeing notable increases in playing numbers within our member unions. It is a huge honour to be asked to play the Sudamericano de Sevens Femenino when inaugurating the venue where the Games will be staged.
“Two of our teams have already booked their place in the Games and two others will play the repechage tournament in Dublin in June – for all of the teams this is a great opportunity to get a feeling of what the Olympics will be like.”
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