MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – An announcement Wednesday revealed a brand new, fast-paced rugby league called, Premier Rugby Sevens, is bringing its inaugural championship tournament to Memphis at AutoZone park October 9.
“We went on a nation-wide search to find the perfect host for our inaugural championship,” said Owen Scannell, founder and CEO Premier Rugby Sevens. “We believe that Memphis and AutoZone park provide an amazing destination appeal for American rugby fans.”
Premier Rugby Sevens is a rugby league starting this fall with seven players per team, half the size of a normal rugby team, making for a faster paced and high-scoring game. The league touts several stars from both the men’s and women’s US Olympic Rugby Sevens teams that will play in Tokyo.
“They’re perfect for today’s generation of sports fans,” Scannell said. “With the entertainment on the field only matched by the festival atmosphere in the stands.”
“What a special day for Memphis, especially our rugby community,” said Shane Young, founder of Memphis Inner City Rugby (MICR).
Scannell named the grassroots Memphis Inner City Rugby a community partner for the league. Scannell says the success of MICR and its founder has shown there’s support for rugby in the Bluff City and that helped convince them to bring their tournament to AutoZone Park.
“We can’t wait to show them why they made the exact right choice in investing in our community,” Young said.
“Every time that I step on a field, I think of MICR because they’re who started my journey,” said Jayla Hampton, a college rugby player from Memphis.
Hampton is a college rugby player with dreams of playing on the US Olympic team. She says MICR introduced her to rugby and she hopes the Premier Sevens championship will inspire other local teenagers to try rugby as well.
“Those hidden pathways will probably open up for a lot of the kids in our community,” Hampton said. “They’ll now see role models literally in their city, in the city they group up in and that they live in, right there in their face on that field playing. That’s the greatest opportunity of them all.”
Tickets are already on sale for the Premier Rugby Sevens Championships October 9 at Autozone Park. If all goes well, the City of Memphis hopes this tournament can continue to grow and stay in Memphis for many years to come.
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