World Rugby unveils women’s sevens Challenger Series

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Zintle Mpupha of South Africa collects the loose ball in the womens match between New Zealand and South Africa during Rugby Sevens on day nine of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Robina Stadium on April 13, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Janet Okelo of Kenya runs with the ball and is chased by Khaterinne Medina of Colombia during the Women’s Placing 11-12 Rugby Sevens match between Colombia and Kenya on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

World Rugby on Tuesday revealed details of the maiden women’s HSBC Sevens Challenger Series which is scheduled to take place from March 28-29 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

According to the body, the event will consist of 12 teams from six regions competing against each other with the overall winner being promoted as a core team to the 2021 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season.

The 12 teams are: Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Scotland and South Africa.

The event will have three pools each consisting four teams with the winner of the event being determined through a grand final. The winner of the Challenger Series will replace the bottom-ranked core team from the 2020 season.

This, according to World Rugby, provides “a clear and consistent pathway for teams to progress to play against the world’s best”. It will also offer teams an avenue to get some valuable playing time ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

China and Kenya have already qualified for the Games while Argentina, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Papua New Guinea will participate in the Olympic Repechage tournament in June in an attempt to qualify for the Games.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said the launch of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for women was an important milestone moment for the development of rugby sevens globally.

“World Rugby is heavily committed to growing the women’s game – the women’s competition on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has expanded from six to eight rounds this season and teams are more competitive than ever, demonstrating the need and appetite for more women’s teams to be playing sevens at a high level with a clear pathway to progress to the very top of rugby sevens,” World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said.

In December, World Rugby unveiled details of the men’s Challenger Series which will be staged in Chile and Uruguay from February 15-16 and February 22-23 respectively.

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