14 Mar 2019

Sport: Fiji and NZ set to share World 7s Series hosting rights

6:44 am on 14 March 2019

The Fiji Rugby Union is negotiating with New Zealand and World Rugby to alternate hosting a World Sevens Series leg from next year.

The New Zealand Sevens have been held in Hamilton for the past two years, following an 18 year run in Wellington, and New Zealand Rugby's Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said they were talking to World Rugby and the Fiji Rugby Union about hosting the event in Fiji during the 2020-2023 cycle.

"Everyone has seen the contribution of the Fijian rugby community to the success of the tournament in Hamilton both on the field and in the stands," he said.

"An option being looked at is alternating the tournament between Hamilton and Fiji and early negotiations are promising."

Fiji celebrate their second straight Hamilton 7s title.

Fiji defended their New Zealand Sevens title in Hamilton earlier this year. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Fiji Rugby Union submitted a bid to host their own World Series leg last year.

FRU Chief Executive John O'Connor said it was an exciting time for Fiji's rugby community.

"We are grateful to NZR for offering to alternate the hosting of the HSBC New Zealand Sevens with Fiji and we're confident of delivering an amazing experience for everyone involved," he said.

"Fijian fans would undoubtedly turn out in their thousands to support the tournament and we believe large volumes of overseas rugby fans would come along to experience Fiji's hospitality and passion for Sevens rugby."

Mark Egan (2L) and Peter Horne (2R) were in Suva to review progress in the FRU's bid to host a World Series leg.

FRU CEO John O'Connor (c) welcomed World Rugby officials last year to review the Union's bid to host a World Series leg. Photo: Supplied/Fiji Rugby Union

The World Series will include at least six combined men's and women's events from next season - in Dubai, Cape Town, New Zealand, Sydney, Hong Kong and Paris - with the women's series increasing to a record eight rounds.

Existing tournaments in Vancouver, Singapore and London will remain as standalone events on the men's circuit, while the USA and Canada Women's Sevens will also continue in Glendale, Colorado and Langford, British Columbia.

The Fijiana women would also get the chance to play on home soil if the New Zealand leg of the World Series was alternated with Fiji.

World Rugby received more than 20 expressions of interest from member unions interested in hosting a World Sevens Series leg, as part of the tender process.

Chairman of the sport's global governing body, Sir Bill Beaumont, said: "This is an exciting time for sevens as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is set to break new ground with more combined rounds than ever before on the circuit, as Cape Town, Hamilton and Hong Kong welcome women's world series teams for the first time from next season.

"We are delighted to see the women's series expand to eight rounds over the next four-year cycle, an historic move that will provide more high quality competitive international playing opportunities for women's sevens teams, a core strand of our Accelerating the Global Development of Women in Rugby plan."

Jerry Tuwai and Fiji were overrun by New Zealand in the Cup semi finals.

New Zealand and Fiji have a longstanding rivalry on the men's World Sevens Series. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby