The United States was named the host of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens today by World Rugby. The bid was put forward by USA Rugby with games slated to be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.
“This is a truly historic moment for rugby in the United States,” said Nigel Melville. “Not only will we be playing in two world-class venues, but we will do it in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. With amazing hotel accommodations, travel options and dining, rugby fans from across the world will be treated to a first-class experience.”
Rugby sevens has seen tremendous growth around the globe over the last decade. The sevens version of the game will be featured at next summer’s Olympics in Rio. It is the first time that rugby has been included in the rugby program since the 15’s game was played in 1924 with the U.S. winning the gold medal.
The U.S.’ gold medal winning team in 1924 (the U.S. also won the gold medal in 1920) was largely composed of players from the west coast and the region continues to be a hotbed for the sport and no doubt part of the reason games will be hosted in California.
“Rugby World Cup Sevens is at the heart of the success story and we are delighted to be awarding these prestigious hosting rights to USA Rugby after a competitive process,” World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said. “I am sure that San Francisco, with its major event experience and passion for sport, will be a popular and spectacular Rugby World Cup Sevens host.”
The Rugby World Cup Sevens was first held for men in 1993 and women in 2009. New Zealand are the current holders for both men and women after taking the title in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow. At that tournament, the USA Eagles men team advanced to the Plate competition but were eliminated by Argentina in the quarterfinals. The women’s team advanced to the Cup semifinal, losing to the winners, before beating Spain to finish in 3rd place.
The opportunity will give USA Rugby a chance to continue to develop the game in the U.S. with an eye to one day host the Rugby World Cup.
“Hosting a Rugby World Cup is an important step forward for rugby in the USA and will bring high levels of visibility and interest for the game in the country,” Melville said. “We will also be using the opportunity to develop Impact 2018, a national legacy program for the whole USA Rugby community.”