HSBC backs global rugby sevens drive

International banking group HSBC, the naming sponsor of rugby union’s International Sevens Series, is backing the launch of a two-year grassroots programme targeting increased participation ahead of the sport’s debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In partnership with Serevi Rugby, an organisation based in Seattle, Washington that works to aid the growth of rugby union worldwide, HSBC will seek to introduce thousands of youngsters to the sport, beginning with this week’s five-day HSBC Rugby Festivals in Brazil. The programme will then move to Hong Kong next month before heading to the United States and China.

A coaching session for 250 youngsters in Rio kicked off the programme and HSBC has made a commitment to the Brazil Rugby Union to return to the country during the two-year period to ensure the children continue their rugby education.

HSBC has sponsored rugby sevens’ premier competition since 2010 and was also the lead sponsor of the British and Irish Lions’ last two tours to South Africa in 2009 and Australia in 2013.