World Rugby Sevens Series sponsors HSBC continue to spread the rugby message around the globe with 2016 Olympic Games host nation Brazil the latest stopping point on the HSBC Rugby Festival circuit.
The HSBC Rugby Festivals returned to Brazil this week through a series of coaching clinics hosted around the local Rio de Janeiro area. Led by one of the greatest ever sevens players Waisale Serevi and the sport's all-time leading points scorer Ben Gollings, over 350 local children were introduced to the sport through an international grassroots rugby programme.
The HSBC-sponsored initiative aims to give youngsters the chance to learn rugby skills first-hand and serve as an introduction to the sport in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games, when Rugby Sevens will make its debut. Launched in Brazil last year, the programme has also visited Australia, USA, Canada, UAE and Hong Kong over recent months.
Having coached local children on Copacabana Beach, Serevi who led Fiji to Rugby World Cup Sevens victories in 1997 and 2005 commented: "I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to come back to Brazil and continue helping educate the local children on a sport which has been so integral to my life. Through the sessions, Ben and I hope to not only have helped shaped future sevens stars but also to provide the youngsters with a great set of values in which to live."
Over 4,500 youngsters have now been involved in one of these festivals as part of the Serevi partnership and the programme also has a coach education element which will see hundreds of adults earn their World Rugby Level One coaching qualification enabling them to continue to work with the players in their communities.
"With Rugby Sevens debuting at next year's Olympic Games in Brazil it's great to see hundreds of local kids enjoying the coaching sessions," said Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC Holdings plc.
"The HSBC Rugby Festivals offer youngsters the chance to learn rugby from a true legend in Serevi and it's great we can bring his enthusiasm and knowledge to new players and communities across the world. HSBC has supported rugby for a long time and helping to grow the sport as we countdown to Rio 2016 is a key aim of our investment in the game."