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2016 Could See First Ever Global Rugby Grand Slam

Press Release – Senate SHJ

Wellington, Friday 29 January, 2016 In the countdown to this weekends HSBC Wellington Sevens, former All Black Christian Cullen believes his country has a chance to achieve an unprecedented sweep of global rugby silverware.‘2016 Could Be the Year of the First Ever Global Rugby Grand Slam’ Says Former All Black Christian Cullen

Wellington, Friday 29 January, 2016 – In the countdown to this weekend’s HSBC Wellington Sevens, former All Black Christian Cullen believes his country has a chance to achieve an unprecedented sweep of global rugby silverware.

The current Rugby World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup Sevens holders have a chance to add HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series glory and the first ever Olympic Rugby Gold Medal, for a never before seen ‘Global Rugby Grand Slam’ of all major men’s rugby tournaments. With Dubai and Cape Town having produced two vastly different sets of semi-finalists, the 2015/16 World Rugby Sevens Series is wide open. Fiji and South Africa currently lead the way, with the USA in hot pursuit, but Cullen remains confident:

“Retaining the Rugby World Cup at the end of last year was huge; not just for the All Blacks themselves, but the whole of New Zealand,” said the former Hurricanes flyer, who won gold himself in the 1998 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens Tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

“But having also won the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in 2013, I think there’s a genuine opportunity for the All Blacks to win all four world rugby titles on offer and complete a Grand Slam.”

This brand new and historic opportunity is just one of many stories of ground-breaking achievement and progress in a defining moment for rugby. Global participation of rugby has more than doubled in less than a decade across the globe.

The inclusion of men’s and women’s rugby in the 2016 Olympic Games has been a catalyst for both funding and development. 2016 also marks the first year women’s Sevens has had a major name sponsor, signalling a new level of commitment to the game.

To mark a defining season for the sport, World Rugby Sevens Series title sponsor HSBC has teamed up with leading strategic planning consultancy, The Futures Company, to produce “Breaking New Ground”, a detailed look at rugby’s evolution and growth as it stands on the brink of a game-changing year.

“This is rugby’s most important season,” commented Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, a long term supporter of rugby.

“The initial findings of our new HSBC rugby report suggest that rugby sevens’ appearance in Rio 2016 has already been a game-changer for the development and growth of rugby as a global sport.”

Cullen agrees with the scale of the opportunity outlined in the report findings but is quick to bring things back to the here and now:

“Sport can be tough, so you must take your opportunity when it comes. These current crop of rugby sevens players have a golden opportunity to showcase their skill, speed and flare to new audiences. There will be players on show this weekend who will become household names around the world when a gold medal is put around their necks next August.

“I’d have loved that opportunity, it’s important to take things one step at a time. So, for the moment, the players need to put any thoughts of a gold medal, or a Global Rugby Grand Slam, to the backs of their minds and concentrate on this weekend in Wellington and then next week in Sydney.”

Tickets are still available for the HSBC Wellington Sevens at http://www.sevens.co.nz/

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