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By IRB Media Unit
Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and the Rugby Union of Russia have announced that Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 will take place in Moscow from June 28 to 30 with tournament organisers anticipating an outstanding event on and off the field.
With Rugby in Russia really taking off, interest is already building ahead of an event that will see 24 men's teams vying for the coveted Melrose Cup, while the top 16 women’s teams in the world will also compete at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Three years out from Rugby Sevens’ Olympic Games debut at the Rio Games, the showcase event will provide a compelling indication of form for the world's top Rugby Sevens nations and underscore the ever-increasing global competitiveness in both men's and Women's Sevens.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the premier international Rugby sevens competition contested by the men’s and women’s national sevens teams every four years. The inaugural tournament was held in 1993 in Scotland, the birthplace of Rugby Sevens, and the 2013 edition will be the sixth in the tournament’s history.
Wales is the current men’s World Champion having won the tournament in Dubai in 2009 with Australia having taken the inaugural women’s title. Fiji has won the men’s tournament twice with New Zealand and England also having won the title. The men’s winner is awarded the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town where Rugby Sevens was first played.
The ambassadors for the event have also been unveiled as Russian players Vladimir Ostroushko, Vasiliy Artemyev, Anastasia Mukharyamova and Elena Shevtsova (see below).
The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 website has just gone live with more details about the tournament as well as an opportunity to register for ticketing information. The website can be found at www.rwcsevens.com.
With Rugby Sevens forming part of the summer programme for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, coupled with the ever-increasing popularity of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the shorter format of the game continues to go from strength to strength.
One of those to benefit from the addition of Rugby to the Olympic family is host nation Russia. The Russian government has pledged his government’s support to the sport and the tournament as the host seeks to build a team of world-beaters in time for next year’s tournament and with an eye on Rio.
“The IRB has shown great vision by entrusting the running of this great tournament to us,” said Vyacheslav Kopiev, Rugby Union of Russia President.
“We have made real progress in recent years and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 will be the next step along the way to Russia becoming a Rugby superpower. Indeed, our national team’s performances at the recent RWC in New Zealand showed the world how far we have already come along the way.”
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 will see the finest men’s and women’s teams battle for a prize that will set the scene ahead of Rugby Sevens’ Olympic Games debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The Rugby Union of Russia, the city of Moscow and the Russian Government will work together to host an event that will showcase the best of Russia and the very best of Rugby Sevens.
“We are committed to delivering an exceptional event. We hope to welcome supporters from other countries to Moscow while also engaging the local population and switching them on to Rugby Sevens,” added Kopiev.
International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset said he was expecting Moscow 2013 to be an exceptional event.
“The IRB is committed to growing the Game in emerging and new territories and the awarding of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 to Moscow underscores our commitment to this process,” said Lapasset.
“Moscow 2013 will not just be an exceptional global showcase, with the support of the Russian Government it will provide the platform to boost participation and interest in a country that really is embracing Rugby.”
“We are excited about the potential of Rugby Sevens. We are already a long way down the road in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games where our finest men’s and women’s Sevens athletes will have the opportunity to compete on the world’s greatest sporting stage.”
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai set record attendance and broadcast figures. The historic event, which was the first to incorporate a 16-team women’s competition running alongside a 24-team men’s competition, was broadcast to 760 million people in 141 countries through 29 international broadcasters in 19 languages.
Vladimir OSTROUSHKO (Krasnodar)
This 25-year-old winger is part of a strong Krasnodar team and as a member of Russia’s national squad in both formats, Ostroushko is a two-time European champion. With Russia qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2011 for the first time in its history, he was a key member of the squad, scoring two tries during the tournament, against Italy and Australia.
Vasily ARTEMYEV (Zelenograd)
Having attended Blackrock College in Dublin and represented Ireland at under-19 level, Artemyev returned to his native Russia and has enjoyed success with his club, winning the Russian Cup in both Fifteens and Sevens while also being a formidable force at international level with his pace, strength and elusive running on the wing. Like Ostroushko, 24-year-old Artemyev played an important role in Russia’s RWC 2011 campaign and scored a memorable try against Ireland. In 2011, he made history by becoming the first Russian player to sign a professional contract with an English Premier League club. He remains a valuable player for top English side Northampton Saints and was their second-highest try-scorer in the 2011-12 season.
Anastasia MUKHARYAMOVA (Moscow)
As a player for RC RGUTIS-Podmoskovye, one of Russia’s top Sevens clubs, Mukharyamova is one of the most experienced players in the national women’s squad and is captain of both club and country. She can boast a bronze medal from the European Sevens Championship 2008, a bronze and a silver from the World University Games Rugby Sevens Championships in 2008 and 2010.
Elena SHEVTSOVA (Moscow)
Along with Mukharyamova, Shevtsova is a highly experienced and indispensable player for her club and country with several years of Sevens Rugby under her belt. She has won several national titles as well as a bronze at the European Sevens Championship 2008, a bronze and a silver from the World University Games Rugby Sevens Championships in 2008 and 2010.
Qantas Australian Sevens player Shannon Walker will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.