International Rugby
IRB unveils Women's Sevens Series
ESPN Staff
October 4, 2012
England's Michaela Staniford poses with the IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup, London Sevens, HSBC Sevens World Series, Twickenham, England, May 13, 2012
England's Michaela Staniford is likely to be one of the stars of the new Sevens Series © Getty Images

The International Rugby Board has launched the first ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series that will kick off in November.

With the Olympics four years away, the IRB has labeled today's announcement as "another significant step in the journey to Rio 2016". The new tournament will take in Dubai, USA, China and Netherlands and will take on a system similar to the current HSBC Sevens World Series .

There will be six core teams featuring in each of the legs - Australia, Canada, England, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA - with the IRB inviting six more on "regional tournament rankings" to bring the total number of teams competing for each individual event up to 12 participating nations.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB Women's Sevens World Series is an exciting and significant development, not only for the women's game but for all of rugby, as we continue to grow the game around the world. For the past 13 years, the top Sevens athletes in the men's game have competed in a world series environment, and now all women players can also aspire to compete at the same level, test themselves against the very best and hone their skills.

"This first international series for our top women's players will shine a light on the sheer quality and athleticism they have reached in a relatively short time, and ensure that the women's game continues on its sharp rise towards its Olympic debut in 2016.

"We are delighted to be going to Dubai, USA, China and tNetherlands in our inaugural year. Dubai will guarantee the Series tremendous global exposure with the event sitting alongside the men's, while the events in USA, China and the Netherlands reflect the incredible appetite for women's rugby in these key markets, as seen with the superb results of their teams on the world stage in recent years."

IRB Women's Sevens World Series 2012/13:
Round 1 - UAE: Dubai, November 30 - December 1, 2012 - 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 - USA: Houston, Texas, February 1-2, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 - China: Guangzhou, March 30-31, 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium Round 4 - Netherlands: Amsterdam, May 17-18, 2013 - NRCA Stadium

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