19th July 06:05 AM
No official invitation yet about the richest rugby 7s tournament-FRU
By Rusiate Baleilevuka
Tuesday 18/07/2017

The Fiji Rugby Union says they have not received any official invitation from China about the richest rugby sevens tournament to be held in October.

FRU CEO John O’Connor says they are not aware of the tournament at this stage.

China is planning to host the richest ever rugby sevens tournament, with the top eight finishers from the 2016‑17 World Rugby Sevens Series to be invited and fight it out in the Champion of Champions 7s tournament in Shanghai in October.

The tournament is part of a push to grow rugby in China and it is looking to have the likes of the Vodafone Fiji 7s team, South Africa, England, Australia, USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Earlier in the year, when discussing the possibility of the tournament, World Rugby chief Brett Gosper said it would feature the “highest ever prize money we have seen in sevens”.

Alisports – the sports division of e‑commerce giant Alibaba, will host the tournament and is leading the charge.

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) and China’s national team will also be invited.

The ultimate goal for China is to host a Rugby World Cup and plans are in place to launch a professional 15‑a‑side league featuring foreign players as soon as next year.

While China has less than 2,000 rugby players, it believes the sport will catch on and knows it is important to capitalise on the interest created by the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, both to be held in Japan.


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