Sevens World Cup dates revealed
NEWS: The Sevens World Vup will take place from July 20-22 next year in San Francisco, it was announced Saturday - the first time the event will be held in North America.
The three-day tournament in the 42 000-capacity home ground of the San Francisco Giants will feature 24 men's and 16 women's teams and comes as the seven-a-side format tries to capitalise on a successful outing at last year's Olympics.
"On the back of Rio, we feel that Sevens will just get stronger and stronger," said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
Sevens will also feature in the Tokyo Games and Beaumont said both the US and Asia were key markets for the game.
He added sevens rather than the traditional XV-a-side format may be the "right vehicle" to spearhead expansion but cautioned it was not "for us to tell local unions how they run their operations".
Beaumont, a former England captain, also defended recent changes to the rugby calendar from 2020, which includes shifting the June Test window back to July and also envisages the European season starting a month later in October.
However, English clubs are reportedly planning to continue their September start meaning players would face a nine-month season followed by international Tests.
"There have been some discussions... about when the European competition will start," said Beaumont.
"I would emphasise that you cannot have a 12-month rugby season for player welfare - players' welfare is at the heart of what we do."
He added the new schedule would also mean more leading or "tier one" nation tours to the second-level Pacific Islands, Japan, Canada, USA, Georgia and Romania.
"I was captain of an England team that went to Japan in 1979. I think that's the last time England went to Japan," he said.
"On the new schedule now England are going to Japan, England are going to the Pacific islands, and it's right that tier one countries go to tier two countries.
"It's the only way that the game will grow in tier two nations."