Premier Rugby Sevens unveils U.S. expansion plan

Dec 13 (Reuters) - North America's top tier women's and men's rugby sevens competition announced expansion plans on Tuesday that will double the number of franchises for its 2023 season.

Premier Rugby Sevens said in a news release it will have eight franchises, with each featuring a men's and a women's team who will compete in their respective competitions when the season begins next June in the United States.

Two still-to-be named expansion franchises will be added in Northern California and Western Pennsylvania while the New York Locals and Texas Team, who were both part of the inaugural tournament in 2021, will return.

Those four franchises will join the Rocky Mountain Experts, SoCal Loggerheads, Southern Headliners and Northern Loonies.

In 2023, teams will be split evenly between an Eastern Conference and Western Conferences and the season will consist of 40 games, starting with conference-play tournaments and culminating in a championship weekend.

Premier Rugby Sevens debuted in 2021 and its 2022 season included over 30 matches through tournaments at Major League Soccer stadiums in San Jose, Washington, D.C., and Austin.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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