|Tournament Logo taken from CONSUR|
The traditional January Rugby Sevens tournament returns to the Argentine city of Mar del Plata this coming weekend with the Argentine Sevens team again to be present in what is an official CONSUR event. But unlike in previous years the 2014 event marks an extremely notable change as for the first time in the history of the competition there is to be a womens tournament and it will also be backed by the governing body of South American Rugby, CONSUR.
The long awaited debut appearance of Rugby Sevens at the Olympic Games has seen revolutionary change to global rugby. Increased funding has been put into the abbreviated version of rugby as countries seek to challenge for medals. With the sport not being restricted to the male category significant efforts have been made in a number of countries with leaders in the Americas having been Canada and the USA.
Argentina and other South American nations are replicating the push with Mar del Plata hosting three tournaments over the coming weekend. Saturday January 11 and Sunday January 12 will feature the Copa Dove Mens Sevens as well as a tournament featuring club sides titled the Copa de Clubes and the exciting new womens event the Copa de los Seleccionados Femeninos.
Participating in the womens event will be the international Rugby Sevens teams from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Like in the Copa Dove Mens section Brazil will not be participating. The Brazilians are instead flying directly from Uruguay after having competed in the Punta del Este Sevens tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Brazil is targeting a place in the Hong Kong Sevens which can be obtained by finishing in the Top Two at the Vinã Sevens event on January 17 and 18 in Chile. Argentina is pre-qualified for Hong Kong as it is a core member of the IRB Sevens circuit. Therefore should Argentina win in Chile it will be the second and third placed sides who earn the right to play in Hong Kong.
The significance of this weekend´s event in Mar del Plata can be seen not only by the official sponsor but also by considering that there is support coming from other sectors. The likes of Directv, McDonalds, Pattry, Miller Light, Gatorade, Universal Assistance, Boston Seguros, CONSOL, Meta, Kooga, ESPN and De Autos are all contributing to the event as are both CONSUR and Mar del Plata Rugby - la Unión de Rugby de Mar del Plata.