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World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series coming to SA

Details of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 have been announced with a pair of three-day combined men's and women's events taking place at Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch on 20-22 and 28-30 April 2023.
Source: Unsplash

he winner of the 12-team women’s Challenger Series will gain the ultimate prize of automatic promotion to the Sevens World Series 2024 – the pinnacle of international rugby sevens.

The 12 women’s teams competing are the Springbok Women’s Sevens, Belgium, China, Colombia, Czechia, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Thailand, and a team from South America yet to be confirmed.

The winner of the men’s Challenger Series, which also features 12 teams, will enter a four team play-off at the HSBC London Sevens in May 2023 together with the teams placed 12th-14th after 10 rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with the winner of the play-off achieving Sevens World Series 2024 status.

The 12 men teams are Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Korea, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The teams qualified via their ranking positions within their relevant regional competitions and the pool draw will take place once the full team line-ups are confirmed in early 2023.

The tournament replicates the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four. The top two from each as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the bronze and gold medal matches.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said: “We are very grateful to have the opportunity to host the two Challenger Series tournaments next year.

"The improvement across the board in Sevens Rugby over the last few years, and the competitiveness between all teams, makes for a superb product and we can't wait to deliver these tournaments in Stellenbosch.

“With Rugby Sevens part of the Olympic Games, it will be a big occasion for all the teams involved and we would love nothing more than to see our own Springbok Women's Sevens team play in Paris in 2024 – this could be the first step to achieving that dream.”

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