Irish rugby fans are in for a major treat this August as the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will be held in Ireland for the first time in UCD on Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23.
Throughout the Women’s Sevens Series, UCD will host players and management from 11 different countries. Over the two day, high intensity event, games will take place at the UCD Bowl, which has a capacity of up to 3,000 spectators.
Garrett Tubridy, Tournament Director for the Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC), which will take place in Dublin and Belfast in 2017, explained why the UCD grounds were the perfect place to hold the Sevens Series.
“The grounds in UCD are a great venue. It’s somewhere that will also be a host during the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017, so with the Sevens Series coming up, it made a lot of sense to take the opportunity and use it for the tournament.
“The facilities there are fantastic. It has a pool, gym, restaurant, training pitches and the UCD Bowl which we feel is the right size for the event. It’s almost like its own village, everything is contained within it.”
He continued, “We are working really closely with UCD in terms of the development of the event. The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) have been asked to host this by World Rugby. We’ve had a very short time to organise it. However, with the great support that UCD have given us, it was achievable. They helped house teams, getting them the right facilities to train and also in terms of putting the event on itself.”
The announcement of the Sevens Series taking place in Dublin is another giant step for women’s sport in Ireland. Recently, World Rugby awarded the IRFU and Ulster Rugby the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, where both UCD and Queens University Belfast will be used as training grounds for teams.
“If you look at UCD alone, it works from an organisational point of view and it created the friendly, welcoming and safe environment that we want. The infrastructure is all there on a university campus and it means that the players can relax.
“If they were in a hotel the whole time they would become cooped up and get cabin fever very quickly, so with them living on campuses like Queens University and UCD, it would be a struggle because there is so much to do,” said Garrett.
A family friendly atmosphere will provide the perfect backdrop to the Sevens Series tournament. Apart from the rugby matches, embassies from the visiting countries are using the event as an opportunity to showcase their culture. There will be 18 games on the Saturday and 16 on the Sunday, lasting 14 minutes each, seven minutes each half.
Garrett explained that, “there’s obviously going to be a huge amount of activity on the pitch and we are hoping to have some activation off it too.
“The Japanese Cultural Institute actually have a UCD lecturer who is involved in traditional Japanese drumming so they want to put on a display as well.
“Anyone who has ever been to a Sevens event knows that the flavour isn’t just on the pitch, it’s about what goes on off it too.”
Tickets for the tournament start at 5 euro, with children free, and are available on Ticketmaster.
Photo: © Morgan Treacy/www.Inpho.ie