With less than one month to go before World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2016 (ConfEx) gets underway at the Hilton London Metropole on 14-15 November, World Rugby has announced the speaking line-up for its Rugby sevens beyond Rio – the golden opportunity panel.

Osea Kolinisau, Fiji’s Rio 2016 flag bearer and captain of the team that won an historic gold medal in Rio – the country’s first ever Olympic medal, will join leading figures from the world of rugby sevens to reflect on the sport’s successful Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

The full panel will be:

  • Mark Egan – World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance
  • Mike Friday – USA men's sevens coach
  • Osea Kolinisau – Fiji rugby sevens captain 
  • Giles Morgan – HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events

The speakers will come together to provide expert analysis on what the future holds for rugby sevens following its game-changing moment at Rio 2016. The panel will examine how the sport's inclusion on the Olympic programme has been central to its transformation and how the dynamic, fast-paced game, which has experienced record growth since the vote for inclusion in 2009, can make the most of its appearance on sport's greatest stage. 

Ben Ryan on how Fiji won their sevens gold
Olympic and double world series champions Fiji used a collection of high-intensity training, eliminating outside distractions and switching off phones for the tournament in Rio, according to head coach Ben Ryan. Here, World Rugby gets an insight into how Fiji won their first ever Olympic medal in sport, a gold in the rugby sevens.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "Rugby sevens made a brilliant debut at the Olympic Games in Rio, underscoring exactly why we believed that it would be a perfect fit. There is no doubt rugby's inclusion on the Olympic programme was a game-changer, giving the sport unprecedented global exposure and allowing us to reach inspire and engage new players and fans worldwide.

"It's vital that we continue to review and consider the sevens journey to ensure this golden opportunity can be maximised. We are excited to have four excellent speakers in Mark Egan, Mike Friday, Osea Kolinisau and Giles Morgan join us at World Rugby ConfEx 2016 to add their considerable insight and wealth of experience to the conversation."

Friday added: "Rugby sevens has become the ideal foothold for countries trying to find their way into the sport and the globalisation of rugby has provided developing countries an easier route. More importantly, we’ve seen these countries succeed.  

"In sevens it's always been the case that a player's decision making, skill and fitness are put under the microscope, and now more people are looking down through that lens. This can only be a good thing for the sport of rugby as a whole."

Australia women's sevens: "We just won gold!"
After becoming the first Olympic rugby sevens champions in history earlier this week, World Rugby caught up with the Australia women's team about realising their gold medal dreams!

World Rugby ConfEx offers a dynamic platform to discuss, learn and create partnerships that will project rugby's values worldwide. Under the theme, The future of rugby, the leading conference will build on the success of previous editions, gathering senior representatives from across the global rugby, sporting and business spectrum, to discuss the key topics, opportunities and challenges of a sport now played by a record 7.73 million men, women and children across 121 member unions. 

The World Rugby Awards 2016 will be held on the eve of the event for the first time. Taking place at the Hilton London Metropole on the evening of 13 November, the World Rugby Awards will celebrate the accomplishments of players, coaches and teams from across the globe during 2016.

Tickets: Awards and ConfEx 2016

Tickets for the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2016 can still be purchased and further information on confirmed speakers and the overall conference programme is available at www.worldrugby.org/confex.

For enquiries on attending the World Rugby Awards 2016 visit www.worldrugby.org/awards

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