Nine months out from rugby sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the pools and match schedule have been announced for the opening round of the new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, for both men and women, in Dubai.
With global excitement building ahead of sevens’ biggest season, the world’s top players representing 28 national teams will compete at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens from 3-5 December, 2015. The 12-team women’s tournament will be played on 3-4 December and the 16-team men’s event on 4-5 December.
In the women’s draw, New Zealand will kick off both their series and Dubai title defences against France, Russia and Brazil in Pool A. Rivals Canada and USA meet in Pool B alsongside Fiji and Ireland while Australia are the top seed in Pool C where they’ll face England, Spain and series newcomers Japan.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “These are exciting and ground-breaking times for rugby sevens as we head into an Olympic Games year and now is the opportunity for our top men’s and women’s players to showcase their talents to new audiences on sport’s greatest stage.
“With new iconic locations, new star players and anticipated record attendances, broadcast and social media exposure, never before has there been so much excitement ahead of a new season of sevens. The road to Rio 2016 promises to be both competitive and compelling and I am sure we will attract, engage and inspire record numbers of new fans along the way.”
Pool A: New Zealand, France, Russia, Brazil
Pool B: Canada, USA, Fiji, Ireland
Pool C: Australia, England, Spain, Japan
Fixtures for Day 1 (3 December 2015)
Match 1 Canada v Fiji
Match 2 USA v Ireland
Match 3 New Zealand v Russia
Match 4 France v Brazil
Match 5 Australia v Spain
Match 6 England v Japan
Match 7 Canada v Ireland
Match 8 USA v Fiji
Match 9 New Zealand v Brazil
Match 10 France v Russia
Match 11 Australia v Japan
Match 12 England v Spain
Match 13 Canada v USA
Match 14 Fiji v Ireland
Match 15 New Zealand v France
Match 16 Russia v Brazil
Match 17 Australia v England
Match 18 Spain v Japan
HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2015-16
Round 1 – Dubai 3-4 Dec 2015
Round 2 – Sao Paulo 20-21 Feb 2016
Round 3 – Atlanta 8-9 Apr 2016
Round 4 – Langford 16-17 Apr 2016
Women’s series core teams: New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, USA, France, Russia, Fiji, Spain, Ireland, Japan.
Report courtesy of World Rugby.