Under-20 Rugby 7s tourney set for Hawai’i
Honolulu, HAWAII – The world’s largest Junior Men’s and Women’s (Under-20) annual Sevens Rugby championship tournament, ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS), takes center stage in Honolulu next year featuring 24 representative teams from 24 countries.
The AWS venue is the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, Hawai’i’s most prestigious sports facility. It is also the largest stadium site for any major annual Rugby tournament in the United States.
“We are very excited to introduce and host the 3-day ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS) as the world’s largest Junior Sevens Rugby (U20) international championship tournament. It is the first world class Rugby tournament of this scale ever held in Hawai’i,” according to Reg Schwenke, AWS Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. He added: “We plan to make Hawai’i our permanent home and further enhance the state’s image as a world-class sports and multicultural destination.”
The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament is scheduled from Thursday, June 5, through Saturday, June 7, 2014, with 16 Men’s and 8 Women’s teams competing. It will include 68 competition matches – 24 matches on Day 1; 24 on Day 2 and 20 matches on Day 3. All Men’s teams will play six matches over three days and the Women’s teams will play five. Each participating country is represented by only one team.
The final ALOHA WORLD SEVENS competition line up will be based on world IRB rankings and timely responses from invited rugby unions. USA Rugby’s President and Chief Executive Officer will assist AWS in coordinating contact with the world’s top national rugby union officials to ensure there will be a full complement of teams.
The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament has already been officially sanctioned by USA Rugby (USAR), the national organization that governs the sport in the U.S.
“USA Rugby enthusiastically supports the initiative and hard work behind the development of the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS) international championship tournament. We have been working with them for over a year,” said Nigel Melville, President and Chief Executive Officer for USA Rugby, adding that “there is so much talent and untapped potential for development of the sport in Hawaii.”
Melville noted that “many former USA Eagles Sevens and 15’s national team members have come from Hawai’i and have proudly represented the state and our country. That will continue and the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS will only encourage and foster more talented Rugby players for the Eagles.’
AWS invitations will be sent to the following countries: USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, France, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Kenya, Hong Kong, Argentina, Italy, Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Uruguay, Georgia, Namibia, Romania, South Korea, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Netherlands, Cook Islands, and American Samoa.
Hawai’i Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui announced last Tuesday (October 15) in a major joint press conference the establishment of a new Sports Development Initiative (SDI) to encourage and foster more international and world class sporting events in Hawai’i by “taking the lead role and advantage of the state’s unique characteristics in becoming an (sports development) anchor in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Lt. Governor Tsutsui, who will oversee the new SDI, met with ALOHA WORLD SEVENS co-founders Reg, Mac and Carolyne Craig Schwenke the same day of the press conference and voiced his unwavering support.
“We are ecstatic that Hawai’i will be hosting the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament next year. The tournament is a fine example of how teams from all over the world can converge in Hawai’i to showcase their sport,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui.
“The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS is in alignment with our new Sports Development Initiative (SDI), which seeks to expand and enhance our sports portfolio in hosting and attracting international events, making Hawai’i the center-stage of athletic events in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
The lifeblood of this and any major event of this scale are the corporate partners or sponsors involved.
Current AWS sponsors include the Polynesian Cultural Center; WorldRugbyShop.com; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; ESPN 1420 and NBC Sports Radio 1500 (Honolulu); PacificBasin Communications; Pepsi, Rukutai International (China); and Adult Friends for Youth (AFY). Other major sponsorships are under review or being negotiated.
“For the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS to become an unparalleled world class event, we want more major sponsorships and funding support from local, national and international private sector companies,” Schwenke noted.
To provide more memorable AWS game-time experiences, “we know the ‘aloha spirit’ of Hawai’i is unique, infectious and cannot be duplicated.
We plan to incorporate “Adopt a Country” general admission seating sections in the stadium where fans can cheer for their national country teams or adopt an international team to root for. It’s going to be a crazy fun, entertaining and family friendly environment. We want it to be a memorable and unforgettable experience for everyone in attendance,” Schwenke added.
McKay Schwenke, AWS Co-Founder, Executive Vice President and Tournament Director, said “our AWS tournament will actively reach out to various ethnic communities and consular offices in Hawai’i to support their representative teams from visiting countries.
Unlike virtually all other Rugby-related tournaments and events worldwide noted for the sport’s fun “beer-drinking culture”, the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS organizers will NOT serve alcoholic beverages in any of their official events and activities because of their specific youth Under-20 participant demographic.
“We have an obligation to ensure our competition is not marred by intoxicated, disruptive or unruly fans because of the presence of many families with young children,” Schwenke concluded.
He will oversee all AWS tournament field functions. To ensure a higher standard of play and officiating, top referees for the AWS tournament certified by the IRB or USA Rugby will be flown in from outside Hawai’i. USA Rugby is assisting in selecting the best qualified officials for the tournament.
The AWS co-founders have set loftier goals for the future development of their ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament and related special events under the parent organization, AWS Events Group LLC, a Hawai’i-based entity.
Carolyne Craig Schwenke, AWS Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, noted that “one of the critical future goals of our AWS Events Group is to provide unprecedented opportunities for multicultural interaction, exchange and learning about dance, music, performing arts and fashions of other world cultures involved with our AWS tournament.”
ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tickets will go on sale in November on Ticketmaster.com web site and through their worldwide offices, at the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS web site at www.AWSrugby.com and also at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
AWS Tickets can be prebooked at www.AWSrugby.com ticket sales web site link for best seating options. All AWS ticket prices will increase from January 1, 2014, when the AWS Earlybird ticket specials expire.
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SOURCE: ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS)