Waisale Serevi “King of 7s” behind effort to bring rugby to U.S.
GLENDALE – For the sixth-straight year, all the excitement of Rugby 7s will once again be on display at Infinity Park as the City of Glendale hosts the RugbyTown 7s (RT7s) Tournament (Aug. 25-27).
“The RugbyTown 7s Tournament, for the length of time it has existed, has become a premier invitational tournament in the world,” said Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon. “When you come to Glendale, you’re coming to hallowed ground. It’s making Glendale famous as the rugby capitol of North America. It really is RugbyTown, U.S.A.”
Home to the annual event, Infinity Park’s pitch has been selected as the Sports Turf Managers Association’s Field of the Year in the schools/parks sporting grounds category five separate times and features FIFA lighting standards. The RugbyTown 7s tournament is broadcast to over 110 countries globally.
“I think the last [five] years of the RugbyTown 7s have been great,” original tournament namesake and international rugby ambassador Waisale Serevi said in a recent interview with Mile High Sports (listen here). “I’m so excited to have a partnership with the City of Glendale. To still be a part of it today, I don’t regret anything. It’s the best way to give back to rugby.”
This year’s tournament will once again feature an expanded 20-team tournament field including a new addition to the competition for 2017, the Viti Barbarians. The Viti Barbarians will be comprised of 7-8 members of Team Fiji, who won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016. It will mark the first time members of the Fiji National Team will be competing in the tournament.
“I’m so excited,” said Serevi. “Who knew that when they won the gold medal that they would be in Glendale in the next 11 months.”
This year’s RT7s event will also feature elements familiar to longtime fans. All competing teams, including the hosting Glendale Raptors and five teams representing each U.S. military branch, will vie for a winner-take-all $10,000 tournament purse. The Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard will also contest a separate Military Championship, a feature which has become a staple part of RT7s.
“The City of Glendale and Infinity Park are tremendous hosts and really roll-out the red-carpet for the teams participating,” said Anthony Poore of All-Army, which has won four of the five Military Championships contested at RugbyTown 7s.
Additional teams confirmed for the 2017 edition of the tournament include the Cayman Islands, Canterbury Fijians, All-Navy, Upright Rugby Rogues, U.S. Air Force, Canada Maple Leafs, Ramblin’ Jesters, All-Army, Viti Barbarians (Fiji), RAF Spitfires, British Army, U.S. Marines, U.S. Coast Guard, Fiji National Team, and returning 2016 Champions, the Denver 7s.
“My goal for the RugbyTown 7s is for it to be the biggest sevens tournament in the world. That’s where we’re headed to,” said Serevi. “The world will be looking this way when the Viti Barbarians are coming.”
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