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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team begins its quest for Olympic qualification in Rio with Dubai first up in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in December.
The IRB, meanwhile, announced Canada and England as the latest countries to join the list of IRB Women’s Sevens World Series hosts.
Langford in British Columbia will welcome the women’s competition to its shores as it hosts round four of the series on April 18-19, 2015 at the Westhills Stadium, Langford, British Columbia. The penultimate round of the series visits London where the action comes to the Twickenham Stoop on the same weekend as the men's HSBC Sevens World Series.
In keeping with the last two seasons, the 2014/15 series will kick off in 7he Sevens Stadium in Dubai on December 4 and 5 alongside the men’s series.
With the Road to Rio getting even shorter, the women’s series will again return to Brazil just over a year out from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo will play host to the event on February 7 and 8.
Tim Walsh’s side have fond memories of both Dubai and Sao Paulo last season, winning both tournaments after memorable wins in both Cup Finals against New Zealand.
Teams will travel to the United States the following month where Atlanta will host round three of the tournament in Kennesaw State University on March 14 and 15.
With their women’s sevens side now a consistent feature at the top end of the women’s standings, Canada will welcome the series to Langford on April 18 and 19.
The last two rounds of the series will be contested in Europe with London hosting the fifth round at the Twickenham Stoop, with the final to be played next door in front of massive crowds at Twickenham Stadium.
Like last season, the series will conclude in the Netherlands as part of the Amsterdam Sevens.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The level of competition in the Women’s Sevens World Series is at an all-time high, and has been helped by the prospect of taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.”
“We now have Canada and London added to the bill for the coming season and given the appetite for quality Rugby and the Sevens Game, I have no doubt that they will be excellent hosts when they welcome the women's series to their shores next year."
12 teams will take part in each round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. Seven teams have qualified as core teams from last season’s series. Hong Kong will host a qualifying competition in September that will see an extra four teams qualify. The 12th team will be invited for each round of the series.
Australia finished the 2013-14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series standings as runners-up, just four points behind New Zealand. Queenslander Emilee Cherry won the IRB Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.
IRB Women's Sevens World Series 2014/15 calendar:
First round: Dubai, United Arab Emirates – December 4-5, 2014
Second round: São Paulo, Brazil - February 7-8, 2015
Third round: Atlanta, Georgia, USA – March 14-15, 2015
Fourth round: Langford, British Columbia, Canada - April 18-19, 2015
Fifth round: London, UK - May 15-16, 2015
Sixth round: Amsterdam, Netherlands - May 22-23, 2015
Injured Qantas Australian Sevens forward Jesse Parahi has backed his team-mates to put in a performance in Dubai that will get their 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series back on track.