World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has hailed a “fantastic” six days as the curtain fell on rugby sevens’ spectacular Olympic Games debut at Deodoro Stadium.
In the first rugby competition at the Olympics since 1924, and in the condensed seven-a-side format rather than the traditional 15s, the six medals were spread across the world.
Rugby union is already confirmed for the Tokyo 2020 Games, while a decision on whether it remains beyond then is expected to be made by the International Olympic Committee’s general assembly next year.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont hailed a “fantastic” six days as the curtain fell on rugby sevens’ spectacular Olympic Games debut at Deodoro Stadium.
“It has just been such a fantastic six days,” former England captain Beaumont said.
“In rugby, we tend to think that we know it all, and you come to events that are far bigger than anything we would normally stage, and to be a part of it has just been fantastic.
“Also, for us to show the Olympic family what we can do with our sport, and in a market that wouldn’t be a traditional rugby market. We’ve had an opportunity, and we thank the IOC for that.
“We’ve got Tokyo in four years’ time, the year after the Rugby World Cup in Japan, so I can only see rugby expanding in both forms of the game.
“It has hopefully been a catalyst in South America, and when we go to Tokyo, it will enable us to expand the game more and more in Asia.
“There is nobody in World Rugby that is conceited enough to think we’ve got a divine right to be here, but hopefully we have showcased our sport on the world stage.
“If you think of the men’s semi-finals today, there were countries from Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa. If my geography is any good, that’s not bad for a global game.”
“We will be trying like mad to retain our status (beyond Tokyo 2020). All the people I have spoken to have been nothing but encouraging about our sport.
“In the wash-up, there will be an assessment of how rugby performed, and there will be certain criteria around spectators, the game, the product, broadcast figures, and then the next meeting of the general assembly is in Lima, and that is when the decision will be made on whether we remain and become a core sport.”