Rugby_Sevens_logo_Jan_20_3January 21 - Rugby's 2011 USA Sevens will kick off at a different time from usual to maximise the event's exposure from its first ever live national network TV coverage.

All four cup quarter-finals will be played at the end of day one, February 12, allowing the final in Las Vegas to be broadcast live on NBC the following day to coincide with prime time across the East Coast of America.

The showpiece match will be played before the three other finals at 2.15pm local time.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to showcase live to the American public the thrilling action of Sevens Rugby," said Jon Miller, executive vice-president of NBC Sports, which will also broadcast the Rugby World Cup for the first time later this year.

"The sport is incredibly popular internationally and we look forward to continuing our partnership with USA Sevens and the IRB to grow rugby here in the US."

USA Sevens tournament director Dan Lyle added: "Four years ago, we set out to attain mainstream legitimacy and exposure in the context of American sport, and this exciting new partnership with NBC reflects the hard work achieved to realise this opportunity.

"Working with our event partners NBC Sports, the IRB, USA Rugby and some fantastic new sponsors, we look forward to presenting the 2011 tournament to the largest US audience ever to have watched our great sport."

IRB chief executive Mike Miller said: "The fact that Rugby Sevens is going to be on NBC, the first ever time that the sport will be live on national network television across the States, is extremely exciting for the development of the game.

"Interest in rugby has grown tremendously in the USA since Rugby Sevens was voted into the Olympic Games and this can only help consolidate that growth.

"This unprecedented platform means we have the opportunity to attract millions of people who wouldn't normally see the sport through an internationally-renowned sports broadcaster.

"We're sure that when they see it on NBC, Americans will be hooked on the highly competitive, fast-paced nature of Rugby Sevens."

Top seeds England won the first event of the season in Dubai and on day one at the USA Sevens they face Argentina, France and Caribbean qualifiers Guyana in Pool A.

Eight-time World Series winners New Zealand won the second event in George, South Africa and line up as second seeds in Pool B with opening matches against Wales, Kenya and South American qualifiers, Uruguay.

Fiji face Australia, Scotland and Canada in Pool C, while defending USA Sevens champions Samoa face a mouth-watering tie against hosts USA as well as South Africa and Japan in Pool D.

After the first two events in Dubai and South Africa, England lead the HSBC Sevens World Series with 44 points.

New Zealand are second with 40, Samoa third with 36, Fiji fourth with 32 and South Africa fifth with 24.