Direct qualifiers start for RWC Sevens 2013
With one year to go until Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 kicks off in Moscow, a major milestone in the delivery of the showcase event will be passed this weekend with the first of a series of regional competitions around the world from which teams will qualify directly.
Men's and women's teams representing more than 90 nations will compete across the eight-month global qualification process. The reward for qualification is a place at the men's (24 teams) and women's (16 teams) events that will be hosted at the iconic Luzhniki Olympic Complex in Moscow from June 28-30.
In total 15 places will be available via the men's qualification process and 11 places via women's qualification. In the men's competition 2009 champions Wales, Argentina, New Zealand, Samoa, England, Fiji, Kenya and South Africa are the automatic qualifiers based on their performance at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009. In the women's competition champions Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and USA are automatic qualifiers. Russia gain automatic qualification in both the men's and women's competitions.
Luzhniki Olympic Complex hosts first qualifier
Direct qualifying gets underway appropriately at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex this weekend when the cream of Europe's women will compete for the five places available via the European qualification process to join hosts Russia.
International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The beginning of the direct phase of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow is a major milestone for an event that continues to go from strength to strength, representing Rugby's continued growth into new markets."
"This qualification system provides a clear pathway for all our Member Unions to secure a place at this prestigious event. The process will provide great competition and excitement in itself as teams strive to secure a place at a world class tournament in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Moscow. It is a key event as we build towards Rugby’s return to the Olympic Games programme in 2016."
"We are excited about the potential of Rugby Sevens. We are already a long way down the road in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games where our finest men’s and women’s Sevens athletes will have the opportunity to compete on the world’s greatest sporting stage."
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai, the first event to feature a Women's competition running alongside the men's, proved to be a watershed event for Rugby Sevens, elevating women's Rugby to new heights. Its winning blend of high-octane action, global representation, strong crowds and festival atmosphere played a significant role in the IOC's decision to include Sevens in the Olympic Games programme.
Since then Rugby Sevens has reached new heights with widespread multisports Games inclusion, an expanded HSBC Sevens World Series that sets record attendance and broadcast figures year-on-year while the first-ever IRB Women's Sevens Series is set to begin later this year. Moscow 2013 will be the second Rugby World Cup Sevens to feature a women's event.
The event will deliver its own unique flavour to the Rugby Sevens success story with the city looking to embrace Rugby fans from near and far with a special festival of activities run at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex over the three days.
The make-up of RWC Sevens 2013 will be as follows:
Men (24 teams)
Europe – three automatic places (Wales, England and host Russia) plus five qualifiers
Oceania – three automatic places (New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji) plus two qualifiers
North America/Caribbean – two qualifiers
Africa – two automatic places (South Africa and Kenya) plus two qualifiers
Asia – three qualifiers
South America – one automatic place (Argentina) plus one qualifier
Women (16 teams)
Europe – one automatic place (host Russia) plus five qualifiers
Oceania – two automatic places (New Zealand and Australia) plus one team to compete in Asia qualifier
North America/Caribbean – one automatic place (USA) and one qualifier
Africa – one automatic place (South Africa) plus one qualifier
Asia – three qualifiers (with the best-placed team in Oceania outside of Australia and New Zealand competing)
South America – one qualifier
RWC Sevens 2013 Qualifiers by Region
June 30-July 1, Moscow, Russia (women)
July 20-21, Albufeira, Portugal (men)
August 3-4, Lautoka, Fiji (women)
August 25-26, Sydney, Australia (men)
August 25-26, Ottawa, Canada (men and women)
September 28-30, Marrakech, Morocco (men and women)
October 6-7, Pane, India (women)
November 2-3, Singapore (men)
February 23-24, Rio de Janeiro (men and women)