Wales could be playing the likes of Fiji at the Millennium Stadium if the WRU is successful with its bid.
The Welsh Rugby Union has today confirmed it will bid to host the men's and women's 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament at Cardiff's iconic Millennium Stadium.
We are delighted to announce that we are bidding to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament at the Millennium Stadium and also bidding for another Sevens World Series round, in the 2015/2016 season
The WRU is one of 12 Unions to have notified intention to enter the formal tender process ahead of the International Rugby Board's submission deadline last week, of 28th February 2014.
Wales joins the USA, England, South Africa, Scotland, Portugal, Singapore, New Zealand, Spain, Netherlands, Fiji and Hong Kong in bidding to host the 2018 World Cup competition of the newest Olympic sport.
In addition the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens Champions are also bidding to host a round of the IRB's HSBC Sevens World Series from the 2015/2016 season - alongside a further 23 Unions.
The 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadium, situated at the heart of the Welsh capital, is no stranger to events of such prestigious and global stature, with the honour of hosting previous IRB World Sevens Series rounds in 2001 and 2002, football matches at the London 2012 Olympic games, six FA Cup Finals and upcoming involvement in its third Rugby World Cup counted as just a few highlights of its 15 year history.
This July Wales' national ground is set to add a Desso grassmaster pitch system to its list of assets - alongside a fully retractable roof, newly (2013) refurbished hospitality level, new (2010) 100m2 Daktronics LED screens and Cisco Stadium Vision instadia broadcast and TV system and unique city centre location.
"Rugby Sevens has an enormous global appeal, highlighted most recently by its nomination as the newest Olympic sport ahead of Rio 2016," said Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis.
"We are delighted to announce that we are bidding to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament at the Millennium Stadium and also bidding for another Sevens World Series round, in the 2015/2016 season.
"The Millennium Stadium is an ideal venue to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens and everyone at the WRU will be working extremely hard in the immediate future to ensure we convey that message to the IRB and to the rugby watching world."
The deadline for tender submissions for Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is December 5, 2014 with the IRB Council selecting the winning bid at its May 2015 meeting. The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament is set for June 27, 2014 and the 2015/16 Series hosts will be selected by the IRB EXCO in October 2014.
The dual process follows a detailed strategic review of Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Sevens World Series hosting models and key overall considerations include growing hosting and participation opportunities for our 119 Member Unions, tournament format, increasing Sevens-related global commercial model values, and for the Series specifically, the number of events in the calendar.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This unprecedented response truly reflects the enormous prestige and appeal of Rugby Sevens in the global sporting market place ahead of our Rio 2016 Olympic Games debut.
"The submission features a blend of interest from every continent and includes existing and emerging Rugby markets, reaffirms Rugby Sevens as a young, exciting and thriving sport that is reaching out, engaging and inspiring new audiences around the world.
"International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby.
"We look forward to collaborating with each interested party as we look ahead to the next phase of the process."
Unions who have expressed an interest to tender for IRB Sevens World Series from 2015/16: USA; England; South Africa; France; Scotland; Germany; Japan; Chile; Canada; UEARA; China; Australia; Russia; Wales; Portugal; Singapore; New Zealand; Spain; Kenya; Netherlands; Argentina; Fiji; Hong Kong; Switzerland.
Unions who have expressed an interest to tender for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: USA; England; South Africa; Scotland; Wales; Portugal; Singapore; NEW Zealand; Spain; Netherlands; Fiji; Hong Kong.
Since the creation of the IRB Sevens World Series by the IRB in 1999, the grand-prix style event has been the stage for great entertainment, drama and incredible feats of skill with the likes of Kenya, Fiji, Samoa, Canada and Portugal mixing it with New Zealand, South Africa and England.
It has been a winning recipe for fans, broadcasters and sponsors and the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series accumulated over 4,500 hours of total airtime across 149 territories, a record television audience. Only eight years ago, that total airtime figure stood at just 300 hours.
Rugby World Cup Sevens has been a driving force for Sevens' global outreach and the competition broke new ground in 2009 combining a 16-team women's competition alongside the 24-team men's competition, showcasing the increasing strength of Women's Sevens on the world stage.
It was a format that was successfully repeated in Moscow 2013 with the IRB announcing last year that the next event would move to 2018 to sit within the middle of the Olympic cycle, providing the 40 participating teams with the optimum competition platform in the lead in to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
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