Infinity Park is proud to announce that it will be the sole U.S. venue for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s 7s Tournament Series in 2018.
The primary route to qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the international series is the pinnacle of Women’s Sevens rugby competition on the planet. According to World Rugby, the 2016 inclusion of the fast-paced discipline in the Rio Olympic Games had a profound impact on the sport, garnering tens of millions of fans globally. World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont says that the series has seen a sixty percent increase in viewership since 2017 alone.
Photo by Mike Lee – KLC Fotos
In preparation for the tournament, the facilities at Infinity Park are being updated; most notably with the installation of an all-new turf training surface that complies with World Rugby standards. Glendale was awarded a grant from Colorado’s Arapahoe County to make the installation, and intends to remove its existing turf pitch in early September, with the new 3G pitch being ready for play by October. Numerous benefits set the synthetic playing surface apart from competitors. In addition to being available for year-round use, its unique durability means that the 3G pitch can withstand far more regular, intense use than a traditional playing field. Constructed using World Rugby Regulation 22 shock pads and in-fill materials that help prevent player injury, the new field will be a boon to Infinity Park.
Deirdre O’Sullivan, entering her third year as World Rugby Competitions Operations Manager, is Series Director for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. A lifelong rugby enthusiast, O’Sullivan attended her first international competition at five years of age. Though she hasn’t played at the senior level, the sport has been a significant presence throughout her life: “The pace and excitement, alongside the massive growth of the women’s game, is the greatest motivation to showcase rugby on a global scale.”
Committed to creating and delivering high-performance competitions, World Rugby is a key strand of the wider plan to expand women’s rugby through 2025.The addition of the Glendale-hosted tournament brings the number of rounds on the Women’s Sevens Series to six, guaranteeing more competitive playing opportunities for participants, and growing the game in the process. An important factor in that growth, sevens competition in the 2016 Rio Games delivered a huge participation boost globally. Recent research revealed some 300 million fans across the globe, with the United States representing a large proportion and accounting for much of the sport’s continued success.
Photo by Mike Lee – KLC Fotos
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is a global tournament hosted across different countries and cities worldwide. Deirdre O’Sullivan says the organization is looking forward to competing in Glendale: “The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is one of rugby sevens flagship competitions. We can’t wait for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series opener at the world class Infinity Park facility.”
The annual tournament is hosted across six locations worldwide, including the U.S., Dubai, Australia, Japan, Canada, and France, with eleven national teams and one invitational team competing in each round. On the line is the coveted World Series Title. This year, the tournament series also acts as the principal route for Olympic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Games. In 2018 the series welcomes China as a core team, with the squad securing a win in the qualifying competition in Hong Kong in April.
The Glendale-hosted event brings the 2018-2019 tournament rounds to six, providing increased competition and promising more opportunity on the road to Tokyo in 2020. Kicking off in late October, the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens Tournament at Infinity Park will precede other international stops while demonstrating that Glendale, Colorado remains the epicenter of American rugby at every level.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said of the tournament’s Glendale stop: “We are delighted to be expanding the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, creating and delivering more high-performance quality competitions for participating teams, which is a key strand of the wider Women’s Plan.” Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon added: “We are honored to have been chosen as the venue to host the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens tournament and look forward to welcoming the athletes, families, and fans to RugbyTown USA.” The opening round of the 2018-2019 tournament will debut at Glendale’s Infinity Park October 20-21.