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Rugby connects Fiji and Colorado

Fiji's Coral Coast and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado have grown a little closer through the Olympic sport of Rugby 7s

The Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens in Sigatoka and the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens in Glendale today announced a relationship whereby the winner of one tournament will be invited to the other.

“We already share a common bond through Waisale Serevi, the ‘King of Sevens,’ and we’re delighted to extend that partnership today,” said Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon. “The Fiji Islands are known the world over as the spiritual home of Rugby Sevens and the opportunity to be invited to play there will give our participating teams extra incentive to do well next month.”

Serevi, who twice won the Rugby World Cup Sevens playing for Fiji, has entered into a five-year partnership with Glendale's RugbyTown USA, which is in its second year, and is also an ambassador for the Coral Coast Sevens.

The 44-year-old is likely to play alongside world record points-scorer Ben Gollings on Aug. 17-18 at Glendale’s Infinity Park.

Seventeen teams will compete at Glendale, including defending champion USA Falcons, the shadow national team, and five teams representing the US military: Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.

Four selections from USA Rugby’s Olympic Development Academy program, to include Glendale Raptors, Combined Northeast, Serevi Selects and Tigers Rugby, will also take part in the two-day festival of rugby, which features more than 40 non-stop matches of 14 minutes each.

International flavor is provided by the national teams of Mexico, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as the French Armed Forces and the British Royal Air Force.

"We’re very pleased to join forces with the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens and excited about the possibility of America’s finest coming to the Coral Coast," said Nick Jordan, Tournament Director of the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens. "On top of that we look forward to the day when our champion, currently Red Rock, can showcase their Fijian flair at Infinity Park."

The Suva club played in the final of the TMO Marist Pago Sevens in April and will also line up at the Fitness First Central Coast Sevens, north of Sydney, in October.

Both tournaments, along with the Middlesex Sevens in New Zealand, also have reciprocal relationships with the Bayleys Coral Coast Sevens, and Jordan said more will follow.

"The Rio 2016 Olympic Games has really ignited interest in the sport around the world and we are thrilled to form win-win partnerships such as these," continued Jordan. "We know the quality of teams on the pitch at the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens will be world-class and give the spectators hours of enjoyment.

"We look forward to being there to witness the action and attract Rugby Sevens fans to Fiji."

Infinity Park is a municipally owned sports, entertainment and events venue with a 4,000-seat rugby stadium located in Glendale, just minutes from downtown Denver.

"The city of Glendale’s commitment to youth, club, facilities and programming at Infinity Park has created a long-term platform for American rugby," added Serevi. "Through our combined efforts to expand visibility, access and quality of rugby in the USA, we have the opportunity to stage a top-flight international club tournament in a fan-friendly venue."

The inaugural ESPN Denver Beerfest, featuring more than 30 Colorado and national craft breweries, local restaurants, food trucks and specialty shops, is an added attraction at the tournament.

Tickets are available here.

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