World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper witnessed first-hand the record breaking Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and has given his thoughts on a series that keeps on giving.
"On behalf of World Rugby, it was a great pleasure to be at and celebrate 40 years of the Hong KongSevens in what is our biggest and probably best Series year," said Gosper.
"Over the last 40 years, Hong Konghas been the game-changer, the game-grower and the game-inspirer - and this wonderful event continues to be a driving force behind the sevens success story."
The sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series also broke its own record in terms of broadcast, with the Hong Kong Sevens showing a staggering 347 hours live and delayed around the globe reaching 145 countries, and Gosper admits this is part of the wider success of this Olympic sport.
"Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength around the world with the 2013-14 HSBC Sevens World Series achieving a record total of 570,000 fans across the nine events with 5,000 hours of live coverage broadcast to 145 territories.
"The 2014-15 Series is on track to be even bigger and better as we count down to our Olympic Games return at Rio in 2016.
"The HSBC Sevens World Series’ winning blend of highly-competitive action, thrilling skills and festival atmosphere is proving a hit with new young audiences, broadcasters and commercial partners around the world. It underscores why we are confident that sevens will be a hit at the Olympics."
On the horizon is, of course, rugby sevens' debut in the Olympics next year in Rio de Janeiro and the action continues this weekend for the men at round seven in Tokyo, while the women are halfway through their series.
"It is a monumental 12 months for sevens as our top men and women compete to qualify for the right to be rugby's first Olympians since 1924 when we gather in Rio for rugby sevens' Olympic debut," added Gosper.
"There is no doubt that Olympic qualification has added another dimension to the Series and enabled us to reach out, engage and inspire new audiences in new markets around the world."
Of course, there is another series for both the men and the women before they hit Rio, which is hoped to continue to build on the growth of the sport.
"In the coming weeks we will reveal the 10 iconic destinations that will comprise the 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series cycle and provide the backdrop to the opening of our Olympic chapter. We believe it is an exciting schedule that is great for teams, fans and the continued growth of our sport," explained Gosper.
“It’s (the Series) the foundation; the underpinning of the sport."
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