September 13, 2012
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Russia aims for new fans with cut-price 2013 7s

Rugby union chiefs hope to attract a new wave of Russian fans to the sport by offering tickets for next year's World Cup Sevens in Moscow at what they say are "competitive" prices.

Fans will be able to watch the June 28-30 event at the Luzhniki Olympic Park from as little as £3 (150 rubles, under $5) per day, with a three-day pass costing just £8 (400 rubles, under $8).

Rugby Sevens for both men and women will make its Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio.

And this has bolstered the belief of International Rugby Board (IRB) officials that the cut-down version of the 15 per side game is the best way of taking rugby union beyond its traditional heartlands, centred on the British Isles, France and the southern hemisphere nations of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

By contrast, the 2013 World Cup Sevens will feature 24 men's teams and 16 in the women's tournament.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset, launching the ticket sale through the website www.rwcsevens.com, said in a statement issued Wednesday: "Through a competitive ticketing programme and a global broadcast platform, Russia 2013 will give thousands of sports fans in Moscow and around the world the opportunity to experience this thrilling, all-action sport up close and personal ahead of our Olympic Games debut in Rio in 2016.

"Rugby Sevens is going from strength to strength around the world with record participation figures, more men's and women's nations competing at the top level, record attendance numbers and ever-growing broadcast figures.

"I am sure that Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Russia will write another memorable chapter in the Rugby Sevens success story."

Meanwhile the president of the Rugby Union of Russia, Vyacheslav Kopiev, added: "Today is a special landmark for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 as we are now engaging directly with the global rugby family and general public.

"We offer a warm welcome to all visitors to Moscow and we are confident that you will leave knowing that you have been part of something special, a tournament that has connected with a new rugby frontier and one that has added to the sport's reach and left its mark."

Next year's World Sevens will see Wales trying to retain the men's title they surprisingly won at the 2009 edition in Dubai, with Australia the reigning women's champions.

AFP

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