* required fields
By ARU Media Unit
Australian Rugby Union today announced that the Gold Coast had been selected as the new home for the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series for the next four years.
The International Rugby Sevens Gold Coast will be held at Skilled Park on 25-26 November 2011 and will be the first stop of the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series.
ARU Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill said the decision to award the four-year contract to the Gold Coast came after a thorough bidding process.
“Last November, we invited a range of interested parties from across Australia to submit proposals to host the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series and we received very competitive responses from Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast,” Mr O’Neill said.
“After a thorough review process, which included consultation with the International Rugby Board, I am pleased to announce that the Gold Coast was selected as the new home to one of Australia’s fastest growing sports and one of the World’s most exciting Rugby events.
“The decision to move the event to the Gold Coast for the next four years came after a thorough review of some very good proposals and I want to congratulate all the interested parties that expressed a strong desire to host the tournament.
“The Gold Coast is known around the world as a city of excitement and fun and that is exactly the atmosphere we will want to create around the HSBC Sevens World Series event, and other major domestic Sevens tournaments.
“We know events like Dubai, Hong Kong and Wellington all put on a show that attracts people from around the world and we are confident that the decision to host this tournament on the Gold Coast will deliver another exciting opportunity for fans to enjoy international Sevens.
"The Gold Coast is an iconic tourist destination and therefore a wonderful fit for a tournament that has year on year attracted overseas visitors in large numbers.
“I also want to extend my sincere thanks to the South Australian Government and the people of Adelaide who, for the last five years, have embraced the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide tournament. Their commitment has been sincerely appreciated.
"In speaking to the South Australian Premier Mike Rann to relay the news of our decision, I also made it clear we still view Adelaide as a potential home for major Rugby events.
"The significant redevelopment of the picturesque Adelaide Oval certainly brings it on to the radar as a serious contender to stage another major Test match.
"In 2003, Adelaide hosted two Rugby World Cup matches on the same weekend, and it was enormously successful. The following year saw the Qantas Wallabies play the Pacific Islanders there in a Test."
International Rugby Board Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said the IRB was delighted that the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series will kick off on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
“For the past five years Adelaide and the people of South Australia have provided a warm welcome for the Series and now Sevens will reach out to yet more people,” Mr Lapasset said.
“The HSBC Sevens World Series continues to grow from strength to strength in every way, attracting interest not only from an increasing number of fans and television broadcasters, but also from global destinations keen to share in its excitement and we very much look forward to this exciting development.”
Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, welcomed the announcement that and said winning the bid for an event as prestigious as HSBC International Sevens World Series is great news for the Gold Coast and great news for Queensland.
“At a time when we are putting the finishing touches on another bid – for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 – this reinforces our message that the Gold Coast is a first-class sporting destination and event ready in every way,” Ms Bligh said.
“What better place to host an international tournament than the state-of-the-art stadium at Skilled Park?
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in supporting this great event and bringing it to the Gold Coast and I am confident it will be a resounding success.”
Head of Marketing for HSBC Australia, Vic Wolff, said HSBC is synonymous with rugby in Australia and we are proud to have been part of the rugby community here for the last decade through our partnership with the HSBC Waratahs.
“Looking forward, we're incredibly excited about the continued growth of Rugby Sevens, both here and around the world, and we're thrilled to be involved in this new rugby tournament in one of the greatest rugby nations,” Mr Wolff said.
“Australia has been a fantastic host of the Rugby Sevens to date, and we look forward to the Gold Coast launching the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series this November."
Australian Sevens coach, Michael O’Connor, said the Gold Coast would no doubt provide an exciting party atmosphere.
“There is a real energy on the Gold Coast and I am confident that will translate to the stands and in-turn onto the field with some exciting and electric Rugby,” O’Connor said.
“I know having been with the team for several years that there is a real party atmosphere associated with other legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series and I am sure the Gold Coast will be able to match, if not better those atmospheres.
“In saying that I don’t want to take anything away from Adelaide, it has been a great venue for the past five years and I want to thank the people of Adelaide who have supported both the Aussie Sevens teams and the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide.”
The International Rugby Sevens Gold Coast is supported by the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, and the Gold Coast City Council.
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.