Nine months away from Rugby Sevens’ debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the pools and match schedule have been announced for the opening round of the new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for Women in Dubai on December 3-4.
The Ireland Women, coached by Anthony Eddy and captained by Lucy Mulhall, return to the World Series for the first time since 2013/14 after progressing – along with Japan – from August’s World Series Qualifier which was played in UCD.
The girls in green are one of the 11 core teams that will compete on the World Series circuit this season, with four rounds announced for Dubai (December 3-4), Sao Paulo (February 20-21), Atlanta (April 8-9) and the Canadian city of Langford (April 16-17).
Ireland have been drawn in Pool B at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, and the pool line-up has a north American feel to it with Canada and the USA providing tough opposition along with Fiji.
The 12-team Women’s tournament will see New Zealand kick off both their series and Dubai title defences against France, Russia and Brazil in Pool A, while Australia are the top seeds in Pool C and 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 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 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.”
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, HSBC Holdings, added: “HSBC is a committed long-term supporter of rugby and rarely has there been a more exciting moment for the game.
“Following a spectacular Rugby World Cup, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has a unique opportunity to drive the game onwards to the gold medal opportunity of Rio 2016.
“As Rugby Sevens breaks into new and unchartered territory, the next 10 months will be the catalyst for even greater growth, participation and engagement. As title sponsors of both the Men’s and Women’s Series for the first time, we are looking forward to providing support throughout that journey.”
The Ireland Women are using an invitational tournament in Elche, Spain this weekend – II Toreno Internacional Rugby 7s – as part of their preparations for the series opener in Dubai next month. You can watch the live stream here from Elche. They play Portugal in their opening game today at 3.20pm Irish time.
2015/16 HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES:
Round 1 – Dubai, December 3-4, 2015
Round 2 – Sao Paulo, February 20-21, 2016
Round 3 – Atlanta, April 8-9, 2016
Round 4 – Langford, April 16-17, 2016
Women’s Series Core Teams: New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, USA, France, Russia, Fiji, Spain, Ireland, Japan
EMIRATES AIRLINE DUBAI RUGBY SEVENS – WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT:
Pool A: New Zealand, France, Russia, Brazil
Pool B: Canada, USA, Fiji, Ireland
Pool C: Australia, England, Spain, Japan
Tickets for the Dubai Sevens at 7he Sevens Stadium can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com or locally at selected Costa, MMI, Go Sport and dnata outlets, Bidi Bondi, 7he Sevens Stadium and Park ‘n’ Shop.
IRELAND FIXTURES –
Day 1 – Thursday, December 3
USA v Ireland, Pitch 1, 12.42pm local time/8.42am Irish time
Canada v Ireland, Pitch 1, 3.16pm local time/11.16am Irish time
Fiji v Ireland, Pitch 1, 6.35pm local time/2.35pm Irish time
Day 2 – Friday, December 4
Cup, Bowl & Plate Play-Offs – 9am-5.58pm local time/5am-1.58pm Irish time