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By ARU Media Unit
he Qantas Women’s Sevens side have been drawn along-side fellow core teams USA and the Netherlands as well as European powerhouse France for the opening round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
The opening round of the inaugural series will be held in Dubai on Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December with 12 of the best Women’s Sevens teams from around the world fighting it out to claim the maiden trophy.
Australia will have the honour of opening proceedings against the Netherlands on the Friday, with the two teams set to make history as the first teams to compete in the IRB Sevens World Series.
The Aussie Women will then face France later in the day before rounding out the pool stage with the third last match of the day against the USA.
Qantas Women’s Sevens Coach, Chris Lane, said there were no easy pools in the inaugural tournament and added his side was focussed on claiming the Dubai title.
“When you look at the teams that are competing in Dubai there are certainly no easy pools, all of the sides will be coming into the tournament with the aim of winning,” Lane said.
“Our focus is no different; we’ve been working hard during the off season and enjoyed some solid performances in a couple regional competitions over the past few months.
“The Netherlands, France and the USA are all strong teams and we will need to be at our best if want to come away with three wins during the pool stages.
“The girls know what needs to be done and we are focussed on ensuring we get our preparation right and that we hit the ground running in Dubai in a couple of weeks-time.”
The inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series marks a giant leap forward for Women’s Rugby Sevens and highlights the growth of the sport since its inclusion in the Olympics.
Rugby Sevens entered its first four-year cycle as an Olympic sport at the conclusion of the 2012 London Olympics earlier this year.
Since the announcement that Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens would join the Olympic family in 2016 the game has experienced incredible growth across the world.
Lane welcomed the new IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and said it was another excellent step on path to the Olympics.
“Since Rugby was announced as an Olympic sport a few years ago we’ve seen a lot of countries put a lot more effort into their women’s programmes,” Lane said.
“This effort will be evident at the tournament in Dubai where I have no doubt we’ll see the standard and the intensity taken to a whole new level.
“The new IRB Women’s Sevens Series is a fantastic addition to the Women’s Sevens calendar that will continue to help grow and promote the Women’s game around the world.”
The inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series will feature 12 international sides from across six continents, with three of the six core teams, England, Canada and Australia, heading the trio of pools.
The top six nations were placed across the three pools based on results in last season’s IRB Women's Challenge Cup events, and on their performances in Regional tournaments.
The next six teams were placed based on their performances in regional competition over the past year, including Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying.
England, who won two of the three Challenge Cup tournaments in the 2011/12 season, in Hong Kong and London, head Pool A and face three tough matches against Spain, South Africa and 2016 Olympic hosts, Brazil.
Defending Dubai champions Canada head Pool B and face matches on day one against recent champions of Oceania, New Zealand, round three hosts China and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 hosts, Russia.
Reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia will contest Pool C against two core sides set to host rounds in the inaugural Series, USA and Netherlands, as well as European powerhouse France.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium
Rugby World Cup Sevens, Moscow, June 28-30 2013