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World Rugby unveils inaugural women’s HSBC Sevens Challenger Series event

The 2019 HSBC Cape Town Sevens women's final match between Australia and New Zealand Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa, will host the inaugural HSBC Sevens Challenger Series event for women on March 28 and 29, World Rugby has announced.

The standalone event will see 12 countries divided into three pools, competing toward a grand final, with the winner qualifying for a place on the 2021 edition of World Rugby’s flagship Sevens Series. 

Also taking part in the tournament in Stellenbosch along with hosts South Africa are: Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Scotland. 

The winner of the HSBC Sevens Challenger Series event will replace the bottom-ranked team on the core series at the end of this year, which World Rugby says will help to provide “a clear and consistent pathway for teams to progress to play against the world’s best”.

The news comes after World Rugby announced a similar Challenger Series event for the men’s sevens competition, which will get underway in Chile this weekend (Febraury 15 and 16) and continue in Uruguay the following week (February 22-23). 

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The launch of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for both women and men is an important milestone moment for the development of rugby sevens around the globe.

“The new Sevens Challenger Series will help to develop the next generation of players and bring international sevens events to new nations, further growing its popularity around the world and underscoring our commitment to be a sport for all.”