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By IRB Media Unit
With Rugby continuing to break new frontiers around the world with its phenomenal growth, it is fitting that the Pool Allocation Draw for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow will take place in the presence of some of Russia's top cosmonauts, Olympians and officials.
The draw will take place at the historic Petroff Palace in Moscow on Thursday, and will determine who the 24 men's and 16 women's teams will face during the Pool phase of the showcase event which takes place between June 28-30.
The decision to host the tournament in the Russian capital was part of the International Rugby Board’s development vision and commitment to grow the Game beyond its traditional heartlands. The fact it will be held at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium, a key venue of the 1980 Olympic Games and host of the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, is a further boost for the tournament.
The three-day tournament will be an incredible experience for sports fans from Russia and around the world as a top-level international Rugby tournament is staged in Moscow for the very first time.
"Anticipation for this tournament is rising day by day and the race to secure the best possible ranking for the draw has been compelling with all teams putting in astonishing performances during the HSBC Sevens World Series and IRB Women’s," said IRB and Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The global Rugby community can be very proud of this tournament. It is one of the most exciting and spectacular sporting events in the world and the fact it is coming to one of the most vibrant capital cities on Earth is yet another reason to be excited."
"We are confident that all the pillars are in place to deliver what will be an exceptional three-day festival of exceptional sport, music, culture, entertainment and hospitality at a world-class venue."
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The draw will take place in front of a specially invited audience of Rugby World Cup officials, players, Russian government representatives, heroes from other sports and respected cosmonauts.
The four bands of six for the men’s event are as follows:
Band 1: New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Samoa, England, Australia
Band 2: Wales, Argentina, France, Kenya, Scotland, USA
Band 3: Canada, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Tonga, Zimbabwe
Band 4: Japan, Hong Kong, Georgia, Tunisia, Philippines, Uruguay
The women’s event will be split into four pools of four teams with the top two teams from each pool progressing to Cup quarter-finals. The defending champions are Australia.
The four bands of four for the women’s event are as follows:
Band 1: England, Australia, Canada, USA
Band 2: New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Russia
Band 3: Netherlands, China, France, Brazil
Band 4: Japan, Tunisia, Ireland, Fiji
Qantas Australian Sevens player Shannon Walker will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.