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Plans unveiled for North American rugby sevens league

A new North American rugby sevens club competition has been set up as part of plans to further grow the sport in the United States and Canada.

The North American Super 7s Rugby League is the brainchild of sports and entertainment group United World Sports, organiser of the annual World Sevens national team event in Las Vegas and a host of other rugby events in the US.

Super 7s will launch in July 2018 following the conclusion of the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco. The league will adopt a six-city schedule, with dates and locations to be announced in the coming months. It is hoped the league will develop into a full city-by-city competition in the spring and summer of 2019.

Teams and coaching staff will be formed through a thorough evaluation process and a draft system. The teams will feature players from college and club programs already in operation in the US and Canada. Team rosters will comprise 16 and possibly up to 21 players, with unlimited substitutions to be allowed.

The league will operate with a slightly different format to the one used in traditional rugby sevens. Games will be split into four 15-minute quarters, with new features to include The Gauntlet, a tie-breaking two-on-one skills competition to determine the winner. The competition will not feature ties.

The league will feature men’s and women’s competitions. Former US rugby league and union player David Niu will serve as the league’s first president. Niu joins Super 7s from the China Arena Football League.

“As someone who has seen how a fast-paced and exciting sport can grow in a new marketplace, China, I am very enthused about the launch of Super 7s in North America,” Niu said. “It certainly fits the American psyche for fast, exciting, yet short content.

“The work that has been done by UWS to expand the footprint of rugby here in this country has been phenomenal, and we are ready to take a sport that will appeal to a wide audience with a very short learning curve to new levels of engagement.”