Tokyo lined up as IRB Sevens series venue


HONG KONG, March 31 – Tokyo is likely to host a new leg of the Rugby Sevens World Series next year, media reports said, despite cancelling its inaugural sevens tournament because of this month's earthquake.The first Tokyo Sevens, a 16-team tournament, had been due next month as a test before the hosts hold a world series leg, but the Japan Rugby Football Union was forced to abandon the event by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami.

Nonetheless International Rugby Board Chief Executive Mike Miller on Thursday said the annual Rugby Sevens series could increase from eight to 10 tournaments next year, with one of the extra stops being in Asia.

"Asia is a strong sevens region and there is huge potential for growth," he was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

"We are very hopeful that Asia will get another tournament and I believe it will be Tokyo," Trevor Gregory, vice president of the Asian Rugby Football Union, said in the Post.

"Tokyo might come on board next year or in 2013," he added, suggesting that South America was likely to host the other new tournament.

The current eight legs of the world series are in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.