Sevens: Women's event confirmed for integrated Hamilton tournament

Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss.
Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss. Photo credit: Getty

The Hamilton Sevens will host an official integrated men's and women's event from January 2020, as part of a revamped World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby unveiled the new-look schedule for the 2019-2020 season, with the women's series increasing to eight rounds for the first time over the next four-year cycle.

The New Zealand leg will be one of six combined men's and women's event, with Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Hong Kong and Paris also hosting combined tournaments in the new-look series.

In the women's series, Glendale, Colorado, will host the USA Women's Sevens, with Langford in British Columbia, Canada remaining as a stand-alone event next season.

Nine of 10 host locations for the next four-year cycle of the men's series have also been confirmed, with Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris confirmed as host cities, and the US location to be approved later this year.

In addition to the revamped schedule, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed it's in talks over sharing the event with Fiji in the future.

NZR chief rugby officer Nigel Cass said the schedule reflected both the success of the New Zealand Sevens over the past two years and World Rugby's commitment to grow the women's game.

"Watching the women's and men's finals played back-to-back in front of a packed stadium in 2019 was an absolute highlight for players and fans.

"We're thrilled to have the chance to repeat that format in 2020 with a full women's field."

Earlier this year, the Black Ferns Sevens played a four-team women's tournament in Hamilton, but the results didn't count towards points in the series standings.

Fiji Rugby chief executive John O'Connor said he's excited about the prospects of sharing the event with New Zealand.

"We are grateful to NZR for offering to alternate the hosting of the New Zealand Sevens with Fiji and we're confident of delivering an amazing experience for everyone involved.

"Fijian fans would undoubtedly turn out in their thousands to support the tournament, and we believe large volumes of overseas rugby fans would come along to experience Fiji's hospitality and passion for Sevens rugby."