The South African Women’s Sevens team will be facing a tough pool schedule for the opening round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
The SA Women squad is one of twelve international sides across six continents that will compete in the historic opening round of the Women’s Series on 30 November and 1 December. The IRB announced the draw for the first ever female Series event on Monday evening.
South Africa can brace itself for three tough matches in Pool A against powerful England, Spain and 2016 Olympic hosts Brazil. England is one of the tournament favourites after winning two of the three Challenge Cup tournaments in the 2011/12 season in Hong Kong and London.
Defending Dubai champions Canada head Pool B and face matches on day one against recent champions of Oceania, New Zealand, round three hosts China and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 hosts, Russia.
Reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia will contest Pool C against two core sides set to host rounds of the Series, USA and Netherlands, as well as European powerhouse France.
Denver Wannies, the South Africa Women’s coach, said although his team face a tough challenge, the players are looking forward to the prospect of playing international Sevens on a more regular basis.
“We are looking forward to playing more internationals. The IRB has done a sterling job to arrange the Series and I am sure that the popularity of Women’s Sevens will grow substantially as a result of this initiative.
“The prospect of playing more will hopefully help us to attract even more female participants. Our standard of play will only improve if we test ourselves consistently against the likes of New Zealand, the USA, England and Australia,” explained Wannies.
South Africa is set to compete in two of the remaining three Women’s tournaments. The SA Women recently returned from China where they lost to the USA in the final of a warm-up tournament.
To assist team preparation for Dubai, the current national training squad as well as two trial squads will assemble in Port Elizabeth this weekend for a series of trial matches.
The squad of twelve to travel to Dubai will be finalised on Sunday.
The two trial squads consist of a selection of players who performed well during the SARU Interprovincial Tournament held over the past weekend at Loftus in Pretoria.
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium