Men’s and women’s players will receive equal pay in Premier Rugby Sevens, which is set to launch this autumn


New professional sevens league in North America

A new professional sevens league is scheduled to launch in North America this autumn.

Premier Rugby Sevens will feature six men’s teams and four women’s sides, with equal pay regardless of gender.

Big names from both the men’s and women’s USA sevens programmes have signed up to take part in Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s), including Perry Baker and Naya Tapper.

Baker says: “Everyone I know that is introduced to the sport of sevens falls in love with it. New fans in North American will love the speed, the excitement and the non-stop action.

“Personally, I live for big moments and playing for fans in my own country through PR7s will be filled with those moments. I can’t wait.”

Tapper is equally excited and hopes the league will increase interest in sevens in America. She says: “I believe Premier Rugby Sevens will be a big reason the sport of sevens will take off in the United States and Canada and I want to be a part of that.

“One of my goals is to inspire the next  generation, particularly crossover athletes, to consider rugby sevens. And now with PR7s, along with the Olympics, there are even more opportunities to continue an athlete’s career at the highest levels.”

Other players involved are Danny Barrett, Abby Gustaitis, Carlin Isles, Ilona Maher, Folau Niua and Stephen Tomasin. Barrett believes PR7s could be a game-changer for the abbreviated code, saying: “This league is something that is so long overdue. I’ve been playing for almost 20 years. When I was growing up, it was the US national team or nothing.

“Now, PR7s is creating a pathway where a 17-year-old Danny Barrett knows a path to reach a professional level and the national team.”

Former USA men’s coach Mike Tolkin is the new league’s general manager and says: “Sevens is a fast-paced and dynamic game requiring skill, speed, power and precision. It’s  an incredibly entertaining game to watch, and PR7s wants to showcase the immense talent and  athleticism of our athletes throughout North America.

“The US teams have enjoyed great success on the world stage against international competition, and PR7s is a great opportunity to continue to grow that talent pool. Starting with many stars that are slated to play in the Olympics, our rosters will have incredible  athletes who will provide a thrilling experience for our fans.”

PR7s will launch with a pilot season this autumn, with a full schedule in 2022. Details of the host cities and schedule dates are still to be announced, but the aim is to run the league in a touring format, with single-day events to be held in both the USA and Canada.

Rather than the franchise model popular in American sports, all teams in the league will be owned and operated by PR7s, with equal access to high-performance facilities as well as equal pay for all those involved.

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