- Teams gather for London launch
- Crowds in excess of 100,000 expected over the weekend
The Marriott London Sevens is set to hit new heights with another world record weekend at Twickenham Stadium in the final leg of this season's HSBC Sevens World Series.
The tournament, launched today at the iconic EDF Energy London Eye landmark with the 16 coaches and captains of the competing nations, England Sevens Women's Coach and Captain, the Rugby Football Union's Professional Rugby Director Rob Andrew and representatives of the International Rugby Board and series and tournament sponsors HSBC and Marriott Hotels and Resorts, has already sold over 90,000 tickets with this weekend's total attendance expected to climb past last year's high of 100,094.
The tournament is the final major sevens event in the calendar before the sport is welcomed into the Olympic family after the London 2012 Games and for the first time both men's and women's events will be staged at Twickenham.
New Zealand are close to completing the defence of their overall HSBC Sevens World Series title, with Fiji in second place. Dubai champions England are in third and aiming to finish on a high after their impressive performances at Glasgow last weekend.
Photo: Getty Images
The IRB Women's Challenge Cup sees England aiming to add more silverware to their collection after lifting the Hong Kong title with hot competition expected from the likes of World Cup winners Australia and Dubai title-holders Canada.
The tournament's '70s Disco theme will attract thousands in fancy dress and create a carnival atmosphere with house band Love Train playing live inside the stadium and a Funky Town fan village in the West Car Park as well as a host of other entertainment for supporters of all ages.
Rob Andrew, RFU Professional Rugby Director, said: "The Marriott London Sevens continues to grow and get bigger and better each year both on and off the pitch, which is a testimony to the strength of the event and the appeal of the sport.
"This weekend, for the first time, Twickenham Stadium is the finale of what may be the most competitive HSBC Sevens World Series of them all.
"The athleticism and skill levels of the players are astonishing now and that goes for the women's game as well as the men's, with two competitions running alongside each other throughout the weekend."
England expects great support
Ben Ryan, England Sevens Head Coach, said: "We get great support around the world from England fans but there's nothing we enjoy more than coming home to Twickenham Stadium, where we get great support and where the atmosphere will be electric this weekend.
"Over this season we've made some decent progress and England has got two players at the top of the try-scoring charts for the first time ever in Dan Norton and Mat Turner. They are part of a team committed to playing an exciting brand of sevens that we hope will have the crowd on their feet.
Photo: Getty Images
"It's important for us to finish on a high here. We believe we're at the start of something special with England Sevens and we want to increase the momentum all the way from here to challenge for the title next season before heading to the World Cup in Russia next summer."
Beth Coalter, IRB Sevens Tournament Director, said: "It is hugely exciting for everyone to be in London for the climax of 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series. The prospect of playing at a packed Twickenham is something that is very special for all of the players and to launch it today on the London Eye with a birds-eye view of the city is stunning.
"From the top you can just about make out London's new Olympic venues, which also serves of a stark reminder that Rugby Sevens makes its Olympic debut in Rio in just four years' time. I’m sure the finest men's and women's Sevens players in the world will put on a show this weekend, deliver a taster of what is to come at Rio 2016 and repay what is expected to be another record crowd for Sevens."
Join the '70s Disco at the Marriott London Sevens. Tickets are now available for the ninth and final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series this weekend on May 12 and 13 2012, with weekend passes starting from £30, single day tickets from £18 and kids tickets at £5 each day.
Tickets will be available in advance until midday on Friday May 11, and then in person from the RFU Ticket Office across the weekend. Visit www.rfu.com/londonsevens for further details. (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).