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Sep 30, 2003

USA Rugby: USA Rugby Brings World Rugby Sevens Series to the U.S.

USA RUGBY announced Tuesday that the International Rugby Board (iRB) World Sevens Series will come to the United States, Feb. 14-15, 2004. The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. will play host to this exciting international event, which will showcase the best rugby teams in the world.

This event, which has been awarded to USA RUGBY for the next three years, marks the North American debut of the World Sevens Series. Started in 1997, the World Sevens Series will encompass stops in eight major cities around the world this year. Los Angeles will be joining the storied Hong Kong Sevens as well as stops in London, Bordeaux (France), George (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Singapore. The creation of a U.S. venue brings a new level of excitement and prestige to this very popular world sport.

\"This is a great event for American Rugby and sports fans,\" said USA RUGBY Chief Executive Officer Doug Arnot. \"Sevens is fast paced, very intense rugby played in an atmosphere of music and festivity in the stands. This is a great introduction to the sport for new fans and an exceptional treat for long-starved fans of Rugby in the USA.\"

Rugby is the second most actively played team sport in the world. Currently, there are more than 100 countries participating in international competition. The teams that travel on the World Sevens Series include the best Rugby sevens teams in the world. Now in its sixth year, the Tour has blossomed into a valuable international sports property. Sevens is the form of Rugby that is under consideration for entry to the Olympic Games.

The USA Sevens is a two-day tournament involving 16 of the world's best national Rugby teams. Team USA (The Eagles) will take on defending Sevens World Champions New Zealand, England, Fiji, South Africa and Australia. Other teams expected to participate include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Kenya, Samoa, South Korea, Tonga and Wales. Each day, the eight hours of competition mixes 2-3 matches per hour with high-energy entertainment. The game presentation and active involvement of the crowd brings the stadium to life for what amounts to a two-day party celebrating Rugby and the national allegiances of the fans.

\"The Home Depot Center has already become synonymous with international sport and is sure to generate a superb atmosphere,\" said iRB World Sevens Tour Manager Mark Egan. \"Bringing the event to Los Angeles is a milestone for Sevens and for the promotion of Rugby in the USA. There is huge enthusiasm for Sevens Rugby in the USA, with over 100 Sevens tournaments taking place annually throughout the country, and I am sure that this superb stadium will prove to be an extremely popular venue for players and spectators alike.\"

\"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the best rugby players and teams from the United States and around the world,\" said Beth White, General Manager of The Home Depot Center. \"Our state of the art, 27,000-seat stadium will provide the perfect facility to showcase rugby's premier event to southern Californians and the thousands of fans who will travel here to witness this great tournament held for the first time in North America. In just a few short months, The Home Depot Center has become one of the country's leading venues for prestigious professional and amateur international competition and, the iRB World Sevens Series will once again bring the world's finest athletes to The Home Depot Center.\"

Tickets for the iRB World Sevens Series at The Home Depot Center February 14-15, 2004 will be available beginning Wednesday, October 1 through Ticketmaster's Charge-By-Phone network at (213) 480-3232, at all Ticketmaster retail ticket center locations including Wherehouse Records, Robinson's-May, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at The Home Depot Center's box office.

For detailed event information, call toll-free: (866) RUGBY-4U (784-2948) or e-mail: [email protected].

USA RUGBY, founded in 1975, is the national governing body for rugby and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). For more information, please contact Deborah Engen at (303) 539-0300, ext. 101, or via e-mail at [email protected].