(ATR) World Rugby chairman calls the Rugby Sevens World Cup a relief from tumultuous times.
Bill Beaumont made the comments In his opening speech to nearly 1,000 fans gathered at the Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco on Thursday night.
"In the days of political uncertainty, it’s great that we can come to San Francisco as a rugby family," he said.
"We pride ourselves on the values of our game: respect, solidarity, passion, integrity, discipline. These are displayed regularly through our sportsmanship, respect for officials and respecting our opponents."
Forty men’s and women’s teams will take part in three days of competition at AT&T Park, typically the home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, to determine the best rugby sevens squad in the world.
This is not the first time AT&T Park has had Olympic-style designs. Charles Johnson, owner of the Giants, spearheaded San Francisco’s campaign to win the USOC’s nomination for the 2024 Olympic bid.
While not typically known for its rugby prowess or fandom, Beaumont said World Rugby’s "global vision" helped bring the event to the United States for the first time and that the federation’s research found more there are more than 33 million rugby fans in the United States. Las Vegas has hosted one of the 10 stops of the Sevens World Series tournament since 2004.
Not every part of the hour-long ceremony went according to plan. Twice a generator cut off all sound, both times combined led to around three-and-a-half minutes of silence.
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