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Richest Sevens

  Gareth Baber believes participating in the world’s richest sevens tournament in China would be a perfect opportunity to compete with the top eight teams in the world. Supported by
19 Jul 2017 11:00
Richest Sevens
Naitasiri halfback Frank Lomani during training session at Navuso ground on July 18, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

 

Gareth Baber believes participating in the world’s richest sevens tournament in China would be a perfect opportunity to compete with the top eight teams in the world.

Supported by World Rugby and scheduled for Shanghai in October, the Vodafone Fijian 7s coach said this would be an ideal preparation before the 2017-18 World 7s Series starts in December.

The top eight teams from the 2016-17 World 7s Series are South Africa, England, Fiji, New Zealand, USA, Australia, Scotland and Canada.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) yesterday reported China was to host the richest ever rugby sevens tournament after injecting US$100 million (FJ$202.99 million) into the sport last year.

“We looked at competitions around the world and our aim is to play with top teams,” Baber said.

“We’ve received e-mail from World Rugby in relation to this tournament but I’ve yet to have confirmation that it’s happening officially.”

World Rugby chief executive officer Brett Gosper made the confirmation yesterday.

“It would feature the highest ever prize money we have ever seen in sevens.”

Alisports – the sports division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, owner of the SCMP – will host the tournament and is leading the charge as far as popularising rugby in China.

Last October, the company invested US$100 million over 10 years with the aim of attracting a million new players within five years.

The company is planning the Champion of Champions tournament along with World Rugby and the Chinese Rugby Football Association (CRFA).

Alisports vice-president Wei Quanming said; “On October 20 or late October, we will invite eight teams with the best records to Shanghai.

“This will be our first time hosting such a game. I think the eight countries will bring a sizable amount of fans from their home countries.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

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