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By ARU Media Unit
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced the dates for the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15, which has gained in significance with the recent announcement that the top four-ranked nations will qualify from it directly for the Olympic Games in 2016.
The 16th edition of the record-breaking Series will visit the same nine countries as the current 2013/14 season with two changes to the order of rounds. The event in the USA will be played the weekend after New Zealand’s, and Japan’s tournament will follow on from Hong Kong.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “With the World Series now confirmed as a key part of Olympic qualifying for Rio 2016, we are delighted to have nine such strong tournaments showcasing these world class athletes and the strength of global Sevens competition.
“Rugby Sevens is growing all the time and its Olympic credentials are helping to forge new markets and interest around the world, in turn broadening the international landscape for the game of Rugby.
"Throughout this 2013/14 Series we are once again seeing an avid fan base flocking to support and watch these spectacular events, and mirroring the vibrancy and youthfulness of the rugby players on the pitch. We are all already looking forward with great anticipation to next season.”
HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15
Round 1: Australia, Gold Coast - 11-12 Oct 2014
Round 2: Dubai - 5-6 Dec 2014
Round 3: South Africa, Port Elizabeth - 13-14 Dec 2014
Round 4: New Zealand, Wellington - 6-7 Feb 2015
Round 5: USA, Las Vegas - 13-15 Feb 2015
Round 6: Hong Kong - 27-29 Mar 2015
Round 7: Japan, Tokyo - 4-5 Apr 2015
Round 8: Scotland, Glasgow - 9-10 May 2015
Round 9: England, London - 16-17 May 2015
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.