The countdown to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 begins in earnest following the Pool Allocation Draw for the men’s and women’s competitions at The Atlantis hotel in Dubai on Monday, January 19. The Ireland Sevens team have been drawn in a very tough group.
The Ireland Sevens team, who last summer qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens with successful trips to Denmark and Germany, have been handed a very tough draw for the finals in Dubai.
Coached by Jon Skurr and managed by Hugh McCaughey, the Irish have been drawn in Pool D alongside Samoa, Australia and Portugal.
Both Samoa and Portugal have a strong Sevens record and currently rank above Australia in the 2008/09 Sevens standings.
24 men’s teams and, for the first time, 16 women’s team will battle it out to be crowned world champions at Dubai’s magnificent new venue ‘The Sevens’ from March 5 to 7.
The draw was carried out by Bernard Lapasset, the Chairman of Rugby World Cup Limited, with Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 will feature the first ever women’s competition with 16 teams having come through a competitive qualifying process involving 83 nations across the IRB’s six regions.
RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2009 – MEN’S DRAW:
Pool A: New Zealand, Tonga, Arabian Gulf, Italy
Pool B: Fiji, France, USA, Georgia
Pool C: South Africa, Scotland, Canada, Japan
Pool D: Samoa, Australia, Portugal, Ireland
Pool E: England, Kenya, Tunisia, Hong Kong
Pool F: Argentina, Wales, Zimbabwe, Uruguay
The six pool winners and best two runners-up will progress to the Melrose Cup quarter-finals, the four other runners-up and four best sides that finish third in their pool will contest the Plate and the remaining sides the Bowl.
The match schedule will be announced shortly.