TWELVE rugby teams from around the world will compete in the first Limerick World Club 7s tournament in Thomond Park in August.
Some of the “biggest names in club and provincial rugby” including Saracens, New South Wales Waratahs, Stade Français, South Africa’s Blue Bulls and Westerns Province, along with Munster, will take part in the two day event, which organisers say will run for the next five years in Limerick.
Modelled on international rugby sevens events - primarily held in Hong Kong - Limerick has been chosen as the host venue city for the club event, which should draw thousands of rugby fans into the €40m stadium over the weekend of August 9-10.
A similar event will take place the following weekend in Twickenham - the host venue for the first club 7s tournament last summer - a double scheduling that will see fans travel from “all over the world”.
“Sevens fans are really passionate and tend to travel from the other side of the world,” explained Tim Magee of Host and Company, one of the key men - along with Eoghan Prendergast of Limerick Marketing Company - involved in bringing the festival to Ireland.
“If they have four days of rugby to travel for, they will come over for the rugby, see a bit of the city and country, and then head to Twickenham for another two days. So that makes it a very appealing proposition,” added Tim.
Overall seven players on 12 teams, from five continents will combine for “one very big party”, which will also have a strong business networking element.
“The fans are very passionate and the events are very colourful - it does really lend itself to a carnival feel, it is a festival more than a tournament,” said Tim.
“This is the first time in Ireland, it will be in Limerick, and it is happening for the next five years. That is the key thing - we are committed to a partnership with the city and Thomond.”
The event will also include specialised teams of high quality from Moscow, Auckland, New York and Vancouver, with sevens slated to be an Olympic sport in Rio in 2016.
“We have been looking for this type of event in Limerick for some time,” said Eoghan Prendergast.
“We are particularly delighted that, in partnership with World Club 7s, we will be highlighting Limerick’s love affair with sport across a wide of range of audiences around the world.”
Thomond Park boss John Cantwell said the stadium was “delighted to play its part in hosting Limerick World Club 7s this August”.
“This top class event will provide an exciting additional must-see experience to our calendar of events at Thomond Park and will also deliver significant economic and social benefits to Limerick and the region,” he said.
Special limited ticket offers priced at €5 per day or €10 per weekend for kids and €12.50 per day and €20 per weekend for adults, are on sale now from Ticketmaster. See www.worldclub7series.com for more.