RugbyU: Singapore seals IRB Sevens hosting rights

SINGAPORE - Singapore has clinched a four-year deal to host a leg of the IRB Sevens World Series at its state-of-the-art new National Stadium starting next year, a media report said Monday.

The Straits Times said the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) signed a Host Union Agreement with the International Rugby Board last week.

It will join Vancouver and Paris as new entrants to the nine-nation, eight-month global campaign, with Tokyo, Las Vegas and Glasgow making way, the report said, without naming a source.

A source told AFP an official announcement was expected later this week. SRU officials declined comment.

The deal is a shot in the arm for the SRU, after the city-state in October lost out to Japan as the preferred host nation for Super Rugby's 18th team.

The tournament will be held at the 55,000-seater National Stadium, which opened in June this year.

With a domed roof, retractable roof and innovative cooling system, the arena is the centrepiece of a US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) Singapore Sports Hub complex which also includes a new aquatic centre and an existing 13,000-capacity indoor stadium.

The complex already has the rights to host tennis's season-ending WTA World Tour Finals for the next four years.

The 2014/15 World Seven Series began in Australia's Gold Coast last month and will see the 16 participating teams travel to Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Scotland and England.

The top four-ranked nations at the end of the campaign in May will qualify directly for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.