World Rugby has announced that the Australia round of the World Rugby Sevens Series will re-locate to Sydney from 2015-16, adding to the impressive list of major city Series hosts.
A globally-renowned tourism, business and major sports event destination, the Sydney Sevens will take place at the Allianz Stadium in Moore Park with the event dates to be announced at the end of the month.
The announcement follows confirmation that Vancouver will be joining an expanded 10-round Series in the next four-year cycle, underscoring the prestige of the Series in the global event hosting market place.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "With excitement increasing ahead of Rio 2016, the World Rugby Sevens Series has been going 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.
"Sydney is one of the world’s iconic cities, a sports-mad city with an exceptional record of attracting and hosting major events like Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games. Sydney’s inclusion within a stellar Series hosting line-up is exciting for players and fans and underscores the strength of the rugby sevens brand in the global sporting marketplace.
"I have no doubt that the Sydney Sevens will inspire new audiences and participants and contribute to the continued strong growth of the game in Australia and around the world."
The successful Australian Rugby Union (ARU) bid came with the full support of the New South Wales government and Destination NSW who believe in the power of sevens as a major attraction.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: "We are thrilled to be able to bring rugby sevens to Sydney. We truly believe that Sydney has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments like Hong Kong, Twickenham and Wellington in terms of event experience and crowd numbers.
"Sydney is an iconic city known across the world for its cultural diversity, outdoor lifestyle and stunning tourist attractions. It is a terrific fit for an event that traditionally attracts an audience from a variety of different nationalities and backgrounds.
"Growing rugby, particularly the sevens format of our game, is critical to the long-term sustainability of rugby as we strive to ignite passion in the next generation of players and fans. Globally, the game is in an exciting spot with rugby sevens part of the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 programme."
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Troy Grant, said the event would be a great addition to the Sydney events calendar.
"This announcement means the Sevens World Series now comes to the home of Australian sport, Sydney, and our Harbour City joins a host of iconic cities as a host venue for one of the world’s most exciting and entertaining annual sporting events.
"With a large number of travelling fans expected, the Sydney Sevens will provide a major boost to the local economy, and assist in the NSW Government’s goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020."
With qualification well underway for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, South Africa lead the current Series standings after five rounds. The last round in Las Vegas, won by Fiji, saw a location-record 75,000 fans attend over the course of the tournament.
Photo credit: Destination NSW