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World Rugby takes World Cup Sevens to Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium hosts the HSBC Cape Town Sevens (by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

World Rugby has awarded hosting rights for the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens to South Africa, with Cape Town’s staging of the event to mark its first edition on the continent.

World Rugby announced the decision today (Tuesday) following an interim meeting of its ruling Council in Tokyo, Japan. The eighth edition of the tournament will see the world’s best 24 men’s and 16 women’s sevens teams take to the field at the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point.

World Rugby said the three-day event will be played during September 2022 considering the international calendar, including the World Rugby Sevens Series and the Commonwealth Games that will take place in Birmingham, England, in July 2022.

The awarding of the tournament to South Africa comes after an initial record of 11 unions – Argentina, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Qatar, Scotland, South Africa and Tunisia – confirmed an expression of interest to World Rugby.

The most recent edition of the World Cup Sevens was held in the US last year at Oracle Park, home of Major League Baseball (MLB) club the San Francisco Giants. The 2018 World Cup attracted a record attendance for a rugby event in the USA of more than 100,000 fans. According to Nielsen Sport, it generated an economic contribution of $90.5m (€81.6m) for San Francisco.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We were impressed with South Africa’s detailed and comprehensive bid and we look forward to working in partnership with them on another inspiring and record-breaking tournament.

“South Africa have a proven track record of delivering a sell-out event in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, which is an esteemed tournament on the world series and will be of huge value to the planning and execution of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022.

“About to make its second appearance on the Olympic Games programme at Tokyo 2020, rugby sevens is an innovative and thriving format of the game that has enormous appeal, and we are excited about the positive impact that another successful Rugby World Cup Sevens will have on our sport.”

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux added: “We have been eager to host global rugby tournaments for a number of years and to have the flagship event in the growing sport of sevens come to South Africa is exciting. We saw how the sport engaged the audience in San Francisco last year and we are certain that it will be just as big a success in Cape Town.

“The HSBC Cape Town Sevens has established itself as a rugby bucket-list tournament in the past few years and we’re sure that international visitors to the event will experience a great tournament at an ideal rugby venue in a fantastic city.”

The venue for the 2022 World Cup has been in the news of late, as local authorities seek to make better use of 55,000-capacity stadium that was developed for South Africa’s staging of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

It emerged this month that the City of Cape Town has developed a proposal to lease Cape Town Stadium to a newly-formed municipal entity for just R100 (€6/$7), a move that has been criticised by ratepayers in the city.

South African news website IOL reported that the stadium company would receive a subsidy to operate and manage the city-owned venue, stating the agreement is in line with the definition of “right to use, control or manage” a capital asset. The lease agreement is proposed to run for 50 years, with the option of a further 49.