World Rugby has announced the dates for the 10 rounds of the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2017-18.
The schedule sees one change from last season as Hamilton takes over from Wellington as the destination of the New Zealand Sevens, the third round of the series, in February.
Next season will also see room in the schedule to accommodate the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, which takes place between the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds.
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The series begins in Dubai on 1-2 December, 2017, before moving to Cape Town the following week. After the December break, Sydney will welcome the 16 teams over three days, from 26-28 January, 2018 before teams move to the FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton a week later.
The fifth and sixth rounds will then take place in Las Vegas on 2-4 March and Vancouver on 10-11 March.
Teams participating in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in mid-April will travel via the Hong Kong tournament, which takes place on 6-8 April. The series resumes in Singapore on 28-29 April.
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With player welfare considerations at the forefront of schedule planning, rest weeks mean the the HSBC Paris Sevens takes place later than usual on 26-27 May, before teams travel to London where the season will come to a crescendo in Twickenham on 2-3 June.
After the end of series, the focus will turn to the west coast of the USA on 20-22 July for Rugby World Cup Sevens at the iconic AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Tickets for that tournament will go on sale on 20 July, 2017, exactly one year to go. So far, 13 men's teams have qualified for that tournament.
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World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “After yet another record-breaking HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, we look forward to what promises to be a very special 2017-18 season for men’s and women’s rugby sevens. We have 10 stellar series destinations for the men's series that will build excitement ahead of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco, which promises to be a huge event as New Zealand men’s and women’s teams seek to defend the trophies they won in 2013.
“The success of rugby sevens at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio gave the game a huge shot in the arm, attracting an estimated 30 million plus new fans to the sport, and we are working hard to ensure its popularity continues to rise in the coming years, especially as we look towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, Giles Morgan said: "This season has built on rugby sevens’ successful Olympic Games debut in Rio. The newer HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series legs such as Cape Town, Sydney, Vancouver and Paris continue to raise the bar and now rival the likes of Dubai, Hong Kong and London as world class sporting spectacles.
"As the game continues to grow, particularly in markets such as North America and Asia, the next series brings with it fresh opportunities for us to reach more new fans, players and countries, especially with Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and a Commonwealth Games in Australia also on the horizon.”
The full schedule of dates and locations for the 2017-18 series are outlined below. Pools and match schedules will be announced on worldrugby.org in due course. Please note that details of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will be announced following the conclusion of the current series.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2017-18 Dates:
Dubai: 1-2 December, 2017
Cape Town: 9-10 December
Sydney: 26-28 January, 2018
Hamilton: 3-4 February
Las Vegas: 2-4 March
Vancouver: 10-11 March
Hong Kong: 6-8 April
(Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast: 14-15 April)
Singapore: 28-29 April
Paris: 26-27 May
London: 2-3 June
(Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, San Francisco: 20-22 July)