The pools and match schedule have been announced for the second leg of the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series, the Emirates Airline South Africa Sevens, in George.
The news comes at a time of huge excitement for the sport, just three days after being voted into the sporting programme of the 2016 Olympic Games by an overwhelming majority of 81 to eight at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen.
The draw for the event, to be played at George's Outeniqua Park stadium on 11-12 December 2009, features 16 national sides from across five continents, including the 12 'core' teams that play in all eight events. *
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Reigning IRB Sevens World Series champions South Africa will be defending their home title for the first time and face two other African sides - Kenya and Zimbabwe - in Pool A.
The Springbok squad lines up against France, as well last year's sixth-ranked Kenyans and the rapidly improving Zimbabweans, whom they recently overcame to win the inaugural Namibia Sevens in Windhoek.
Last year's Series runners-up, Fiji, start as second seed and top Pool B. The reigning Hong Kong and Edinburgh champions will play Australia, Portugal and Russia on day one.
Pools C and D are topped by New Zealand and Scotland respectively, after both enjoyed strong finishes to last season. **
In Pool C, New Zealand face three tough matches against World Cup Sevens winners Wales as well as Samoa and the USA.
In Pool D, Scotland face pool matches against USA Sevens champions Argentina, Tunisia and Wellington and London champions, England.
"The Olympic decision has blessed us with the perfect start to the new season, and now all the teams will be keen to show the world just how great the game of Rugby Sevens is," said IRB Sevens Manager, Beth Coalter.
"The first two tournaments showcase perfectly the appeal of the Series, from the heat and desert of Dubai, we head straight down to South Africa's stunning Garden Route. In rugby terms, it's a unique product.
"It is challenging for the players but also hugely rewarding for them, the coaches and administrators, and with Sevens offering literally every competing nation a genuine chance of success, there is so much there for all the fans, both at the grounds and tuning in around the world."
* The 12 'core' teams competing in all eight events on the World Series are: Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA, Wales.
** Pool stage seedings are calculated on the teams' performances over the previous two IRB Sevens tournaments. South Africa and Fiji both scored 28 Series points from London and Edinburgh, while New Zealand and Scotland both took 24 points.
- IRB Sevens World Series 2009/10
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- Friday 16 October 2009
Golden opportunity for Pacific Islands rugby
- Thursday 15 October 2009
Las Vegas confirmed as venue for USA Sevens
- Wednesday 14 October 2009
Paul Treu: Totally blown away
- Tuesday 13 October 2009
Arabian Gulf appoint kiwi Sevens coach
- Monday 12 October 2009
Pools and matches set for South Africa Sevens
- The RFU »
- Welsh R.U. »
- Scottish R.U. »
- Fédération Française de Rugby »
- Australian R.U. »
- New Zealand R.F.U. »
- United States of America Rugby Football Union »
- Union Argentina de Rugby »
- Samoa Rugby Union »
- Federation Tunisienne de Rugby »
- Zimbabwe R.U. »
- Fiji R.U. »
- Federação Portuguesa de Rugby »
- South Africa Rugby Union »
- Kenya Rugby Football Union »
- R.U. Of Russia »