Pools and schedules announced for Dubai
The International Rugby Board has announced the pools and match schedule for the first round of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series 2013/14.
The competition takes place at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on November 28-29 at Dubai’s purpose-built 7he Sevens arena.
Twelve international sides from across six continents will compete, with top teams New Zealand, England and Canada heading the three pools. Eight core teams will compete across all rounds of the series.*
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IRB Women's Sevens World Series defending champions New Zealand will kick off both their Series and Dubai title defences against Oceania rivals Fiji on pitch one on the Thursday. Sean Horan's charges, who are also Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 champions, will face a tough challenge in Pool A with further matches against USA and new core team Ireland.
In Pool B England will open their campaign against Tunisia, after which they face Spain and Russia, who will be coming into the tournament on a high after a strong performance in front of their home crowd at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.
Pool C has thrown up some interesting clashes as Canada - who were runners-up at RWC Sevens after finishing third on the Series - open the tournament against France, followed by tough matches against Australia and Rio 2016 hosts Brazil.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Last season’s inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series was a great success and we're very excited about building on that solid foundation after a Rugby World Cup Sevens which was also extremely hard-fought."
"The Women’s Series gives these nations the rigorous and regular international competition they need to build their programmes as they countdown towards Rugby Sevens’ Olympic debut in 2016."
"Having hosted the first Rugby World Cup Sevens for women back in 2009, Dubai has been a ground-breaking venue for women's Rugby in recent times and we are delighted that the same wonderful venue gives us the opportunity to have the finest men’s and women’s players in the world playing alongside each other. For the players as well as the fans it is an enticing prospect.”
*Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA are core teams on the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series after reaching the quarter-finals of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series 2013/2014
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 28 – November 30 , 2013 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Atlanta, Georgia, 15-16 February, 2014 - Kenshaw State University
Round 3 - Brazil: Barueri Sao Paulo, 21-22 February 2014 - Arena Barueri
Round 4 – China: Guangzhou, 5-6 April 2014 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 5 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 16-17 May 2014 - NRCA Stadium