The Commonwealth Games Federation today (Friday, January 23) with World Rugby unveiled the 14 international teams invited to compete for Gold in Rugby Sevens at the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games - with both Men's and Women's Australian sides invited to take part.
The history-making line-up includes eight teams for the Men’s tournament and six for the Women’s tournament – the first time young female athletes will compete in a Rugby Sevens competition at a Commonwealth Youth Games.
Rugby Sevens is already a firm favourite with Commonwealth Games fans – with the two-day tournament at Glasgow 2014 attracting a 170,000 world-record breaking audience for the sport over the two days of competition. And with Rugby Sevens set to make its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro next year, the young Rugby stars of the Commonwealth Youth Games will be looking to get an early foothold in the fast-paced sport which continues to grow and flourish on the global sporting stage.
The teams invited to go for Gold in the Men’s Tournament are: Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Cayman Islands, England, Fiji and Samoa.
And in the Women’s Tournament teams from Australia, Canada, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands and Samoa are offered the chance to compete.
Making the announcement, David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation said: “We’re delighted to unveil the Commonwealth nations and territories teams invited to compete in what is one of the world’s great international Rugby Sevens competitions for young athletes and we’re especially pleased to be making history by having the first women’s Rugby Sevens tournament at a Commonwealth Youth Games.”
Vitolio Lui, Chief Co-ordinator of the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games said: “Rugby Sevens is fast and furious contest with high point-scoring, hard hits and heroic sprints with just 14 minutes to win the game. It’s all about teamwork, skills and stamina and everyone’s got a job to do.
“Given the high quality of Rugby Sevens competition within the Commonwealth, we look forward to seeing some exciting and excellent performances in Samoa.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “Rugby Sevens is reaching out, attracting and inspiring new young audiences around the world. We are excited about our Commonwealth Youth Games opportunity to showcase the future global stars of the men’s and, for the first time, the women’s Rugby Sevens.
"We are sure that the sport’s winning blend of breath-taking action, competitiveness and entertainment will prove a hit in rugby-mad Samoa.”
Commonwealth Games Associations from the selected nations and territories now have until March 01 to confirm whether they will take up their Rugby Sevens slots along with all the other sports in which they intend to compete.
The Samoa 2015 Youth Games takes place from September 5-11 and will involve around 1000 Young Commonwealth Athletes aged 14-18. This will be the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games with previous Games held in Isle of Man (2011), Pune India (2008), Bendigo, Australia (2004) and Edinburgh in Scotland (2000).
The Commonwealth Youth Games is often the first opportunity to see the next generation of top athletes in action on the world sporting stage. Such sporting successes include English athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill who won silver in the 100 Metre Hurdles and High Jump at the Bendigo 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games and then went on to win bronze in the Heptathlon at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Since then, Jess won the gold medal in the Heptathlon at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Through sport there are great opportunities not only for serious competition and fun but also to play an active part in important areas such as diversity and citizenship. It’s a priority for the CGF to engage, inspire and to help young people realise their potential right across a Commonwealth connected through sport.