The International Rugby Board has announced the schedule for the world's leading Rugby Sevens Tournament series, the IRB Sevens World Series.
Once again the record-breaking series will comprise eight Tournament locations kicking off in Dubai in late November and climaxing in Scotland in late May 2008.
"Last season's IRB Sevens World Series was the most competitive to date. The destiny of the title wasn't decided until the final day of the final event when New Zealand overtook Fiji in the standings to be crowned champions,â€ said IRB Sevens Manager, Beth Coalter.
"The series will again kick off with the Dubai and South Africa Tournaments in November and December 2007 before moving on to New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Australia and England. The series will climax for the second successive year in Scotland at the end of May 2008, added Coalter.
"The 2006/07 series was without doubt the most successful in the history of the event, setting new broadcast and attendance records, while the standard of competition on the pitch reached new levels. A total of 32 Unions participated across the eight series Tournaments while there were four different Cup winners, with Samoa securing a series Cup title for the first time,â€ said Coalter.
The 2006/07 series also saw the introduction of three new Tournament locations in Adelaide, San Diego and Edinburgh. Each proved to be successful additions garnering strong crowds, attracting widespread interest and adding to the international appeal of the series.
"The inclusion of these exciting new locations into the series proved popular and also served to foster the growing global appeal of Rugby Sevens. Each Tournament was a resounding success with over 25,500 fans attending in Adelaide while San Diego's attendance of 25,000 was a record for a USA Sevens event,"said Coalter.
"The series climax in Edinburgh was also a huge success with the competitive action on the field backed up by an attendance of almost 30,000 over the two competition days to see New Zealand lift the title, added Coalter.
Rugby Sevens' brand of fast-paced action, world class players and global locations is attractive to sports fans worldwide. Last season's IRB Sevens World Series attracted crowds in excess of 250,000, with Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005 in Hong Kong attracting 120,000 supporters over the three competition days. A record crowd of 50,000 attended the final day of the Rugby Sevens Tournament at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and Rugby Sevens has also proven a popular event in the World and Asian Games sporting programme.
In an exciting development for the Game it was recently announced Rugby Sevens will also feature in the sporting programme for the Pan American Games in 2011 and re-inclusion in the All-Africa Games moved a step closer when the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) endorsed its inclusion.
In addition IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai will be the first Rugby World Cup Sevens to incorporate a women's Tournament running alongside the men's.
IRB Sevens World Series 2007/08 schedule:
Dubai - Nov 30/Dec 1
South Africa - Dec 7/8
New Zealand - Feb 1/2
USA - Feb 9/10
Hong Kong - Mar 28/29/30
Australia - Apr 5/6
England - May 24/25
Scotland - May 31/Jun 1