RWC Sevens 2009 qualifying set for kick off
January 15, 2008

The first qualifiers for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 will be confirmed this weekend when the qualification process gets under way in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The CONSUR Tournament, which is the first of seven regional qualifiers to be played this year, will see one men's and one women's team confirm places at Rugby Sevens' showpiece in Dubai.

The two-day event, which kicks-off on Friday, sees hosts Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela compete for the one available qualification place in the men's Tournament. They will also be joined by invitational team Argentina, who has already qualified for RWC Sevens 2009 courtesy of reaching the quarter-finals at RWC Sevens 2005 in Hong Kong.

The women's competition, which will be played on the same pitch as the men's, will see Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Paraguay, compete for the title that will confirm a place at the Dubai Tournament in 2009.

Nine men's teams are already guaranteed places at RWC Sevens 2009 (the eight quarter-finalists from 2005; Fiji, New Zealand, England, Australia, France, Scotland, Argentina and South Africa and Host Union, the Arabian Gulf), while a further 15 places will be filled via the regional qualifier structures.

Three qualifiers will come from Africa, two from North America, one from South America, two from Asia, five from Europe and two from Oceania. This structure will guarantee the presence of some teams not regularly seen on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit.

RWC Sevens 2009 will be the first Tournament to incorporate a women's competition and all 16 women's teams will be confirmed through the regional qualifier process. Two qualifiers will come from Africa, two from North America, one from South America, three from Asia, six from Europe and two from Oceania.

"For the Women's Game the start of the regional qualifying process is an exciting development. In total 83 Unions will participate in Tournaments held across all six regions highlighting Rugby Sevens' truly global appeal and the growing stature of the women's Game," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

Following the opening Tournament in Uruguay, six further regional Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 qualifiers will be played:

FIRA-AER European qualifier (women's) - Limoges - June 14/15
FIRA-AER European qualifier (men's) Hanover - July 12/13
NAWIRA North American and Caribbean qualifier (men's and women's) - Bahamas - October 25/26
ARFU Asian qualifier (men's and women's) TBC
CAR African qualifier (men's and women's) TBC
FORU Oceania qualifier (men's and women's) TBC

"These regional qualifying Tournaments are a very exciting prospect, kick-starting an important year for Rugby Sevens. Coupled with the popular IRB Sevens World Series, the Tournaments will ensure that an unprecedented amount of elite level Rugby Sevens is played over the next 12 months," added Lapasset.


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