Today, Rugby Americas North announced that its 2022 RAN Sevens Qualifiers are set to take place at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas on April 23-24, 2022, hosted by the Bahamas Rugby Football Union.
The two-day event – which includes senior Men’s and Women’s divisions – will serve as qualifiers for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa in September, along with The Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, England in July.
The top two Men’s teams and one Women’s team from the event will book their ticket to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, while the highest-placed Men’s team eligible to participate in The Commonwealth Games 2022 will represent RAN, alongside Canada who have already pre-qualified for both men and women.
USA Men’s and Women’s teams have already qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa based on their finishing positions at the 2018 edition of the tournament in San Francisco, which means that RAN will be represented by three Men’s teams and two Women’s teams in South Africa.
RAN has received interest from more than 20 national teams, including Canada Men and Women, across the two divisions. The final list of competing teams, pools and tournament structure will be announced closer to the event in April.
This will be the first international Sevens competition hosted by RAN since last year’s Fireminds RAN Sevens in Turks and Caicos, where Jamaica lifted the trophy as champions with a 21-7 win over Mexico in the finals.
Earlier this year, RAN announced that its RAN Super Sevens tournament – which was to be played in Mexico City February 12-13 with both senior and age-grade divisions – had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
Built in 1981 and recently renovated in 2018, the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium is The Bahamas’ largest in the country, with a capacity of up to 23,000. Located on the island of New Providence near the country’s capital of Nassau, it regularly hosts the NCAA Division I College Football bowl game – The Bahamas Bowl – and local and regional track and field championships.
Nassau is a familiar location for some athletes throughout the region, having played host to the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2018.
The entire tournament will be streamed live on RAN’s website, with highlights, scores, interviews, and other content provided on its social media pages.
RAN General Manager, Niall Brooks:
“We are delighted to be bringing our RAN Sevens Qualifiers to Nassau, Bahamas this April at the world-class Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
“This tournament is a direct qualifier for both Rugby World Cup Sevens and The Commonwealth Games, and we are expecting a high-level of competition over the two days to crown champions that will represent our region this year at two of the sport’s biggest events.
“Furthermore, RAN is pleased to announce that the RAN Super Sevens will now be staged in Mexico City inNovember to act as a qualifier for the Centro Caribe Games, World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series and 2023 Pan-American Games for both Men and Women. The tournament will also feature RAN’s inaugural U-18 Boy’s and Girl’s Sevens competitions, which were scheduled to be staged alongside the Senior competitions in February.
“I would like to thank Adam Waterhouse and the Bahamas Rugby Football Union, along with The Bahamas Government, for putting their hand up to host this event. With countries in our region at various stages of their COVID-19 vaccinations and recovery, we will be following strict protocols set forth by World Rugby, RAN and The Bahamas government in the lead up to and during the tournament. This is especially important, when we have a relatively large number of players, management, and spectators, all coming together in one place.”
Bahamas Rugby Football Union President Adam Waterhouse:
“What does it mean for The Bahamas to host this event? It means excitement, it means progress and it means that Rugby gets moving again.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a tough two years for all nations, but in particular the Caribbean nations with restrictions, lockdowns and protocols making sport incredibly inaccessible. It is an exciting opportunity to play against some of North America’s (and the world’s) best Sevens teams in a showcase qualifying event for both The Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“This event will bring players back to the community, generate a buzz about the game and inspire Bahamian youth to come out and play our wonderful sport!
“This is a landmark event for both Rugby Americas North (RAN) and The Bahamas. Together we have the potential to demonstrate that rugby is back and it’s back in a big way. Hopefully this will generate a lot of interest locally and further afield and The Bahamas can be seen as a premier Sports Tourism destination and all visitors can truly experience Sports in paradise after all “It’s better in The Bahamas!”