Rebranded HSBC SVNS to bring world-class rugby sevens action back to Singapore
World-class rugby sevens action will return to the Republic in 2024, along with a landmark women’s tournament, after World Rugby announced on Tuesday the launch of the HSBC SVNS, a revamped and rebranded global event to replace the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Kicking off in Dubai from Dec 2 to 3, the new event featuring 12 men and women’s teams will be held in eight cities as “a unique festival of sport, entertainment and culture set against stunning backdrops”.
The Singapore leg will be held at the National Stadium on May 3-5, after which the top eight teams, based on cumulative series points, will secure their opportunity to compete in the May 31-June 2 Grand Finals in Madrid, where the SVNS champions will be crowned.
Madrid will also host the relegation play-off round where teams ranked ninth to 12th will be joined by the top four teams from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The top four from this play-off will secure their place in the following year’s SVNS.
Under the new model, SVNS delivers gender parity with all seven rounds and the Grand Final featuring men and women’s competitions and equal participation fees, with a 70 per cent increase in World Rugby’s investment in participation fees as a commitment to sustainable growth.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “We are excited to be launching HSBC SVNS, the supercharged new identity for our Olympic format, with iconic destinations and a new concept on and off the field, broadening the reach and appeal of the sport beyond its traditional audiences.
“In eight iconic destinations played over seven months, we will bring together a truly immersive festival of rugby, music, food and experiences to create the ultimate weekend-long get together for young people, the hottest ticket and open a new era for the sport.
“For the first time in rugby sevens history, all locations will be unified under the same approach, meaning that the overall experience is the same and we can optimise commercial revenue for reinvestment, including playing our part in ensuring that sevens is a viable career path for the talented players and Olympians.”
There had been a question mark hanging over the future of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens as the previous deal for the Republic to host one of the series’ 10 legs ended with the event in April.
Singapore first hosted a leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2002. The event was cancelled in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak, but Singapore resumed as host from 2004 to 2006.
After a 10-year hiatus, the city state returned with a four-year agreement with World Rugby in 2016 to stage a leg of the series. A four-year extension was then inked in 2019.
Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) president Sunny Seah said: “Singapore being chosen again for another cycle is a tremendous testament for the excellence in enlarging the interest and advancing the potential of sevens and rugby in Singapore and throughout the region.
“The SRU is delighted and proud to be part of the team to bring this event back in a different way and to continue to grow the game through developing community-based fringe events around the new HSBC SVNS.”
The 2016 to 2018 editions of the Singapore Sevens drew 140,000 fans in all, with the 2019 event attracting 57,000 to the National Stadium over two days.
In 2022, the number dropped to 22,000 over two days as daily attendance was capped at 12,000 as part of Covid-19 regulations, with spectators having to submit a self-administered negative antigen rapid test result to gain entry. The figures rebounded to close to 40,000 in 2023.
Sport Singapore Chief Executive Officer Alan Goh said: “Over the past 10 editions, this tournament and its community activations have elevated the profile of rugby as a sport in Singapore and attracted both local and international fans to immerse in its festivities.
“As we continue our partnership with World Rugby, the 2024 HSBC SVNS Singapore will see the top women’s teams compete in our iconic National Stadium. We look forward to combining different elements of the signature rugby sevens experience to promote more interest in the sport and inspire our next generation of youth athletes.”
HSBC SVNS schedule
Dec 2-3, 2023: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dec 9-10, 2023: Cape Town, South Africa
Jan 26-28, 2024: Perth, Australia
Feb 23-25, 2024: Vancouver, Canada
March 2-3, 2024: Los Angeles, USA
April 5-7, 2024: Hong Kong
May 3-5, 2024: Singapore
May 31-June 2, 2024: Madrid, Spain (Grand Finals)