Elementary and Middle School Participants To Represent 32 World Nations in Honor of Rugby Sevens’ Olympic Return in 2016



June 4, 2010 (New York City, NY) - Play Rugby, Inc (Play Rugby USA), a national non-profit organization devoted to developing youth through rugby, in partnership with NYC & Company, today announced the 3rd Annual NYC Mayor’s Cup Rugby Festival will take place on Saturday, June 5th on Randall’s Island, sponsored by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (HSBC).

Ashley Parker, Executive Vice President and New York City Regional President, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., said, "HSBC is very pleased to sponsor the 2010 NYC Mayor's Cup Rugby Festival. As 'The world's local bank,' we play an active role in all the communities where we have a presence and New York City is no exception. In particular, the opportunity to help promote youth activities and endeavours is something we are particularly proud to be associated with".

“The NYC Mayors Cup Rugby Festival is one of the most exciting events on the annual Mayor’s Cup roster, and we’re very happy to award this year’s winners with the NYC Mayor’s Cup and title of Best in New York City,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “This year’s event also celebrates the sport’s highly-anticipated come back in the 2016 Olympic Games, which speaks to the increasing popularity of this exciting international sport.”

Fifty-six teams and nearly 700 students have registered from NYC Public Schools and nearby Play Rugby USA partner schools and will be competing for the coveted NYC Mayor’s Cup with championship winning teams being recognized as the best in New York City in their respective divisions. For the first time ever, the High School division features New York City’s public school Rugby Sevens tackle teams, one of the first of such leagues in America. Elementary and Middle Schools have separate divisions competing in Flag Rugby; a non-contact version of the game. There will also be a Rookies group (under 7 years) competing for fun.

Donald Douglas, Executive Director of the Public Schools Athletics League said, “This first pilot season of Rugby Sevens for our boys and girls has been a great success. It is impressive to see how quickly these young athletes have applied their athletic ability to pick up such a new sport. They clearly enjoy playing the game and have bonded during the process.”

The NYC Mayor’s Cup Rugby Festival represents the annual culminating event of Play Rugby USA’s youth development program, which is run throughout NYC’s public schools as a year-round after school activity to promote the development of communities, youth character, physical conditioning, and academic commitment. Students participate in the program on-site at school and then receive multiple opportunities to represent their school through weekend tournaments, and seasonal culminating events. There will be 19 teams participating from Manhattan, 12 from Brooklyn, ten from the Bronx, seven from Queens, one from Staten Island and five from outside New York City.

Making the cut for the NYC Mayor’s Cup can be a tough feat with some schools boasting over 60 players on their roster. For the Mayor’s Cup only 12 players can be selected. Mark Griffin, Founder of Play Rugby stated:

“ The NYC Mayor’s Cup Rugby Festival is such a special event which showcases what our program and boys and girls are all about. The international educational theme sets the stage but on the field itself the camaraderie and respect that is exhibited between teams is outstanding. All students that have made the cut should be proud. They have done so based not only upon their athletic ability but upon their positive attitude & commitment to the program and their team."

All Elementary and Middle School teams will represent an International Olympic Nation in honour of Rugby Sevens being included in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Students will have competed projects to learn about their adopted nation’s international history and culture and will wear national-themed rugby jerseys on the day which have been provided by Rugby Ink.

Since the inception of Play Rugby USA’s program full time in 2006 over 140 schools and youth organizations and 9,000 students have participated, over 85% being from underserved backgrounds. This Saturday, the select 56 teams and 675 students will be excited to showcase their skills and enjoy some fun competition and community support.

The Rugby Festival is one of the original Mayor’s Cup events; the Mayor’s Cup Series was recently expanded to now encompass a variety of sports throughout the year including track and field, cross-country running, cycling, lacrosse, kayaking, wrestling, field hockey, rugby, chess, wheelchair basketball, and now table tennis. New tournaments will be added to the existing Mayor’s Cup series throughout the year; the roster now includes 10 events that draw more than 10,000 participants each year.

About Play Rugby USA® Play Rugby USA is the youth development program run by Play Rugby, Inc - a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that focuses on “developing youth through rugby”. Play Rugby USA places careful emphasis on having fun, improving fitness and developing life skills through delivery of specially designed curriculum. For more information visit www.playrugbyusa.com.

NYC Go Boiler Plate NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity, and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. General information is available at www.nycgo.com/sports.