Former Springbok Sevens star Fabian Juries and World Cup winning centre Jean de Villiers have joined forces in their support of the International Rugby Board’s campaign for the introduction of Rugby Sevens into the Olympic programme.
The IRB believes Rugby Sevens is the ideal form of Rugby for Olympic inclusion, with a proven and very successful record in similar multi-sports Games such as the Commonwealth Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide on which two sports to include in the Olympic Games in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2009.
De Villiers, who started his international career in 2002 on the Sevens circuit, has developed into one of the world’s leading centres and has a Rugby World Cup, IRB Under 21 World Championship and Tri Nations winners’ medals to his name.
The Springbok centre, who is the SA Rugby Player of the Year, believes that a Rugby event at the greatest sporting event on the planet will further add to the sporting spectacle which runs every four years.
“I am definitely all for the introduction of Rugby Sevens into the Olympic Games. I would be one of the first players to admit that it would be great for Rugby players to one day end their career with an Olympic Games and World Cup gold medal to their name,” said De Villiers.
Most exciting spectacles
“The Sevens game is both exciting and fun, easy to watch and understand and will be a great attraction at the Olympic Games. Rugby Sevens has become one of the most exciting spectacles on the annual sporting calendar and while the game has grown around the world, the competitiveness of the various countries competing on the Sevens circuit has exploded.
“What sport fans want to see is entertainment and I believe Rugby Sevens will give Olympic spectators exactly that.”
Juries, who is one of the leading try-scorers of all-time in IRB Sevens history with 173, echoed De Villiers’ sentiments and called for the International Olympic Campaign to introduce Rugby Sevens into the Olympic Games.
“Rugby Sevens has so much to offer and will definitely add to the spectacle of the Olympic Games,” said Juries.
“The various Sevens tournaments around the world have all turned into successful events and while it is a fantastic form of the game for Rugby players, it is also an enjoyable sport for spectators – those who have knowledge of Rugby and those new to the game as well. It has a great ability to attract new audiences. ”
Rugby Sevens was given a massive boost for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games after the highly successful three-day Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai in March. Twenty-four teams competed in the men’s competition with Wales defeating Argentina in the final to be crowned champions, while Australia beat rivals New Zealand in the inaugural women’s competition played alongside the men’s.
Player Quotes of Support
“More than anything, Sevens embodies the Olympic ideals of camaraderie, fair play and respect on and off the field of play.” – Shane Williams, Wales
“You play sport at the highest level to challenge yourself to be the best that you can possibly be and to compete with the best from all over the world, and what better stage to do that on than at the Olympics?” – Sue Day, England
“Going to the Commonwealth Games was amazing and to have the chance to go to the Olympics would be right up there with anything you could possibly dream of doing in sport.” – Tamati Ellison, New Zealand
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