World Rugby announced on Tuesday that South Africa will host yet another major international tournament with the inaugural event on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for women heading to Stellenbosch next month.
Twelve teams from all six of World Rugby’s regions will be competing for a coveted place as a core team on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2021 season at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on 28-29 March 2020.
Apart from the Springbok Women’s Sevens team, the other nations in action are Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Scotland.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, thanked World Rugby for entrusting SA Rugby with the opportunity to host another major international tournament in South Africa.
“We hosted the very successful Africa Women’s RWC Qualifiers Tournament last year, as well as well as the Africa Olympic Qualifiers for sevens,” Roux said.
“It’s a great feather in our cap to once again be selected to host a rugby major tournament. We are very proud that both World Rugby and Rugby Africa are consistently using SA Rugby to host tournaments and are delighted to be part of the growth of the women’s game in the world.”
Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the inaugural HSBC Sevens Challenger Series event for women and grateful to World Rugby for the opportunity.
“This tournament will provide our enthusiastic supporters with yet another opportunity to see top female sevens athletes in action, something we experienced for the first time last year at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens.”
South Africa was selected as host following the ground-breaking women’s World Rugby High-Performance Academy which took place at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport in May 2019 and the recent success of having the Springbok Women’s Sevens team play as an invitational team at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December.
The Sevens Challenger Series is a new competition designed to boost rugby sevens’ development across the globe. Today’s announcement is just the beginning for women’s participation on the Sevens Challenger Series, which will evolve to feature more rounds across the globe as it grows and develops in future years.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The launch of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for both women and men is an important milestone moment for the development of rugby sevens around the globe.
“Sevens has seen dynamic growth in interest and fan engagement since making it’s hugely successful Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and it is right to launch the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in a pivotal year for rugby sevens ahead of the spotlight shone by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The new Sevens Challenger Series will help to develop the next generation of players and bring international sevens events to new nations, further growing its popularity around the world and underscoring our commitment to be a sport for all.”
The tournament format will see the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams that will compete towards a grand final where the winner gains core team status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021, replacing the bottom-placed core team at the end of this season and providing a clear and consistent pathway for teams to progress and play against the world’s best.
SOURCE – South African Rugby Union