RWC 7s set for for record audience
March 16, 2005

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced that the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005 in Hong Kong between March 18-20 will be broadcast to a record number of countries and homes.

South African rugby enthusiasts will be amongst a vast global audience who will be able to track the performances and actions of their respective countries at the Sevens showcase.

The Springboks Sevens team left for Hong Kong on Monday to a good send-off from the South African Rugby Union and team sponsors Sasol.

SARU president Brian van Rooyen and SA Rugby CEO Johan Prinsloo both left for Hong Kong today to attend the world event.

"The continued growth in the popularity of sevens rugby will be highlighted this week when the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong is played before a cumulative three-day sell out crowd of 120,000 and it is broadcast to over 300 million homes with a potential audience of 700 million," said IRB Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.

"The Rugby World Cup Sevens will enjoy over 160 hours of live coverage in 37 countries. This includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, South Africa, and the regions of the Pacific Islands, Pan Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In addition there will be 40 hours of delayed coverage reaching a further 63 countries."

"Sevens rugby is hard, fast and exciting and is a wonderful spectacle for sports fans. It is a sport in its own right, with its own identity, and 86 countries have been involved in qualifying for this year's Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Here in Hong Kong the tournament will be contested by the best 24 sevens teams in the world and it is the fourth World Cup Sevens tournament since its inception back in 1993," added Dr Millar.

The best sevens players in the world will be playing in the Rugby World Cup Sevens including Fabien Juries (SA), Waisale Serevi (Fiji), Simon Amor (England), Liam Messam (New Zealand) and Lucio Lopez Fleming (Argentina).

Also playing are accomplished fifteen-aside players such as Orene Ai'i (New Zealand), Henry Paul and Pat Sanderson (England), Brian Lima (Samoa), Marika Vunibaka (Fiji) and Tim Clarke (Australia) who have met the necessary skill and fitness criteria that today's sevens coaches demand.

The IRB will host several members of the International Olympic Committee at the Rugby World Cup Sevens as it continues its campaign for the inclusion of sevens rugby in the Olympic Games. The members are Hong Kong's Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, Japan's Shun-ichiro Okano, USA's Robert Ctvrtlik, Britain's Phil Craven, Taiwan's Wu Ching-kuo and New Zealand's Tay Wilson.

Hong Kong Cable is the host broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup Sevens with production and worldwide distribution being managed by Pro-active Television that also produces the IRB Sevens TV coverage. News reports will also be carried by NBC, CNN and BBC World.

The opening two rounds of the 2004/05 IRB Sevens experienced unprecedented TV and radio coverage. The Dubai and George Sevens in December 2004 had a television broadcast reach of over 100 million homes across 120 countries with 156 hours of coverage.

Teams competing in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, Tunisia, Uruguay, USA.

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