The Springbok Women Sevens will be among 12 teams battling it out for four remaining places on the 2014/15 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Hong Kong on September 12 and 13 the IRB confirmed on Tuesday.
South Africa will go head-to-head with Japan, China, Kenya, Brazil, Fiji, Mexico, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Argentina at the Shek Kip Mei Stadium for one of the four available places on the circuit.
The competition will feature three pools of four teams, with the top two sides in each pool progressing to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-placed teams.
The winners of the quarterfinals will progress to the semifinals but, more importantly, they will secure automatic qualification for next season’s Women’s Sevens World Series.
The teams that are guaranteed to participate on the Sevens circuit are New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada.
With the top four teams on the 2014/15 Sevens World Series qualifying automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Springbok Women Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said his team was determined to make the most of this opportunity.
“Our two main goals from the beginning of this season has been to qualify for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and to do our best to ensure that we qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Dazel. “This qualifying tournament will open the door to both of these objectives.
“At this stage we have another important matter at hand and that is to deliver a quality performance in the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August. Once that is completed our Sevens players will gather again in Port Elizabeth to prepare for the qualifying series.”
IRB head of competitions and performance Mark Egan expected a thrilling tournament in Hong Kong and said: “These are exciting times for women’s rugby Sevens. With the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro just over two years away, teams will have an eye on preparation for that and so we expect a hugely competitive and high-quality qualification tournament for next season’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.”
The Springbok Women’s squad, which includes a handful of Springbok Women Sevens players including flyhalf Zenay Jordaan, and backs Veroeshka Grain and Lorinda Brown, will assemble in Cape Town on Monday for their Rugby World Cup holding camp, with the team set to depart for the international showpiece in France on July 27.