SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

9 July 2014

South Africa: SA Women Eye IRB Sevens World Series Place

Four places in the 2014/15 IRB Sevens World Series will be up for grabs when the Springbok Women's Sevens team takes on 11 other countries in Hong Kong on 12 and 13 September, the International Rugby Board (IRB) confirmed on Tuesday.

Japan, China, Kenya, Brazil, Fiji, Mexico, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Argentina will also be in action at the Shek Kip Mei Stadium, aiming for a place on the circuit.

Tournament format

The competition will consist of three pools of four teams, with the top two sides in each pool progressing to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-placed teams.

The winners of the quarterfinals will progress to the semi-finals but, more importantly, they will secure automatic qualification for next season's Women's Sevens World Series.

New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada have already secured their places on the circuit.

Olympic qualification

With the top four teams on the 2014/15 Sevens World Series qualifying automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Springbok Women's Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said in a statement that his team was determined to make the most of its opportunity.

"Our two main goals from the beginning of this season has been to qualify for the IRB Women's Sevens World Series and to do our best to ensure that we qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games," he said. "This qualifying tournament will open the door to both of these objectives.

"At this stage we have another important matter at hand and that is to deliver a quality performance in the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup in France in August. Once that is completed our Sevens players will gather again in Port Elizabeth to prepare for the qualifying series."

'Exciting times'

IRB head of competitions and performance Mark Egan said he expected a thrilling tournament in Hong Kong: "These are exciting times for women's rugby Sevens. With the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro just over two years away, teams will have an eye on preparation for that, and so we expect a hugely competitive and high- quality qualification tournament for next season's IRB Women's Sevens World Series."

The Springbok Women's squad, which includes a handful of Springbok Women's Sevens players, including flyhalf Zenay Jordaan, and backs Veroeshka Grain and Lorinda Brown, will assemble in Cape Town on Monday for their Rugby World Cup holding camp, with the team set to depart for the international showpiece in France on 27 July.

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