Tokyo tournament tipped to join world series

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2011, 12:00am

Tokyo is favourite to host one of two new legs in an expanded HSBC Sevens World Series. The city could come on board either next year or in 2013.

International Rugby Board chief executive Mike Miller said there was every likelihood of the annual series increasing from eight to 10 tournaments next year, and that one of these stops would be in Asia.

'We are leaning to expanding the world series to 10, no more. We feel we can take another two venues in the short term,' Miller said.

'And Asia will be a strong contender for one of these tournaments. Asia is a strong sevens region and there is huge potential for growth.'

Apart from Hong Kong and Dubai, which have always been regular stopovers since the world series began in 1999, Singapore was also a stop but lost its status.

It is now believed that Tokyo is favourite to become the next Asian leg.

Trevor Gregory, vice-president of the Asian Rugby Football Union, said: 'We are very hopeful that Asia will get another tournament and I believe it will be Tokyo.

'We have heard that South America and Asia could be the destinations of the two new legs in the series.

'But with all that has happened in the past month, Tokyo might come on board next year or in 2013.'

The Japan Rugby Football Union had planned to hold the Tokyo Sevens - a 16-team tournament featuring all the top sides in the series - next month.

It was to offer prize money of US$100,000, and it was looked at as a test-run for future involvement in the IRB series.

But the tournament has now been cancelled following the earthquake and tsunami, which have claimed thousands of lives.