Cayman bids to host Rugby World Cup Sevens

Oracle Park, the home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, served as the host venue for the last Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.

The Cayman Rugby Union has launched an expression of interest to bid to host the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens. That expression of interest was conveyed in April to World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, and if accepted, would allow Cayman’s team to host and compete in a global spectacle.

The event, held every four years, has been staged seven times in total, but a women’s event has only been a part of the tournament in the last three editions.

The United Arab Emirates, Russia and the United States have been the last three hosts.

Eric Bush, the chief officer of the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs, said Monday that winning the bid to host the tournament would be great for Cayman.

“The Rugby World Sevens are a global event,” Bush said. “In my personal view, hosting something of this nature would be a fantastic initiative for Cayman Rugby. Hosting such a prestigious and global event would be in line with enhancing the image of the Cayman Islands around the world.”

New Zealand has won three of the seven editions of the men’s tournament, and Fiji has won twice.

New Zealand has also won twice on the women’s side after losing in the finals to Australia in the inaugural women’s World Cup Sevens in 2009.

Jovan Bowles, Cayman Rugby’s technical director, said Monday that Cayman is one of 11 bids to host the World Cup Sevens, and he said all financial documentation is due to World Rugby by 16 July. The other countries are: Argentina, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Qatar, Scotland, South Africa and Tunisia.

“It’s a very prestigious event,” Bowles said. “We sat down with Mr. Bush and he laid out his vision for Cayman to host international events, and we’re very honoured to be a part of that vision. The World Cup Sevens happen every four years, and it would be a great showcase event for Cayman.”

Fourteen nations made a bid to host the last World Cup Rugby Sevens, which were ultimately held in San Francisco. Twenty-four men’s teams and 16 women’s teams competed in that tournament.

Cayman will host the Rugby North American Sevens tournament in July, an event that serves as a regional qualifier for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The teams that win the tournament will automatically qualify, and the second and third-place teams will play in the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament.

If Cayman’s bid is accepted, Truman Bodden Sports Complex would serve as the host venue for the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Derek Haines, the president of Cayman Rugby, said Monday that the organisation hopes to build new rugby grounds at some point in the next two years.

The hope of the organisation is that the new grounds would be completed by the end of 2021, but even if that comes to pass, Truman Bodden is still viewed as the prime target to host the tournament.