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IRB Chairman hails Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 as resounding success

posted on 10/03/2009: 1828 views



As the curtain came down on the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009, with the Welsh men and Australian women returning home with their new trophies, Chairman of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Bernard Lapasset has hailed the tournament as the best to date.

Dubai played host to the largest Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament over the weekend with the crowds flooding into Emirates' spectacular purpose-built The Sevens venue to see the 24 best men's and for the first time, the 16 top women's international Sevens teams in action.

After a weekend of surprises, the event was described by Lapasset as the best ever Rugby World Cup Sevens, extending the reach of the game and introducing new audiences to the sport at a time when Rugby Sevens is reaching out for Olympic Games re-inclusion.

"Dubai can be extremely proud of an event that is firmly established as a major event on the global sporting calendar, delivering exceptional Rugby and record broadcast and attendance figures - success that promotes the Game around the world," said Lapasset.

"For the first time in Rugby World Cup Sevens history we were delighted to welcome the best women's players from 16 countries for an event that lifted the women's game to new heights. It was particularly exciting to have seen teams from Uganda, Thailand and Brazil competing in a Rugby World Cup event for the first time," he added.

The tournament, comprising 480 players from 40 international men's and women's teams from 31 countries, was the largest IRB tournament to date, and Lapasset believes that Dubai 2009 will provide a positive boost for the participating teams as well as the West Asia region, putting rugby firmly on the map.

"There is more to the success of a tournament than the spectacular action on the pitch. We hope that the players will leave Dubai feeling that they were a part of something special, a unique tournament that forged friendships and encapsulated rugby's unique spirit of fair play, respect and camaraderie.

"Legacy is not solely confined to the minds of the players and fans. We hope that this tournament will provide the springboard to an exciting era of growth in West Asia as the IRB, working with all stakeholders, looks to expand rugby in this important region." With Rugby Sevens one of seven sports seeking inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games, Lapasset believes that it would be a perfect fit for the world's greatest sporting arena.

"With Rugby reaching out for Olympic Games re-inclusion, Sevens is played in over 100 countries and its unique blend of explosive action, world-class players and highly-competitive format packaged in matches of fourteen minutes, has proven successful in reaching out to new young audiences, sponsors and broadcasters around the world," he said.

"Our sincerest thanks must go to Emirates Airline, the tournament's Principal Partner and a true champion of Rugby the world over, for their support and the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union for their superb organisation of this, the largest IRB tournament to date, and for their commitment to ensuring that Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 was a resounding success," added Lapasset.

"Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 was truly an event to remember and our congratulations go to the Welsh men and the Australian women for their superb Cup-winning performances, as well as to all the other teams who provided a weekend of top- class action," said Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group - Principal Partner of the tournament.

"Our sincere hope is that the success of the Rugby World Cup Sevens will have a knock-on effect in the development of rugby in this region as Emirates continues in its support of this great sport," added Chapman. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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