Sevens series ready for expansion
February 7, 2012
Sevens has increased in popularity over the years © Getty Images
Three new nations are to be added to the current format of the HSBC Sevens World Series ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The 12 teams in the current world series - Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales - will be joined by three new teams for the 2012-13 series. The three newcomers will be decided at the Hong Kong Sevens on March 23-25, the only tournament on the calendar to feature 24 teams.
This qualifying tournament of 12 teams will run alongside one featuring the current 12 core teams. International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength and we are seeing unprecedented interest in hosting, participation and sponsorship for the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series.
"As we build towards Rio 2016 and our Olympic Games debut it is important that opportunities exist for all nations to progress to series core team status if they are good enough."
From the 2012-13 season onwards, promotion and relegation from core team status will come into effect with a 16th invitational team selected by the IRB for each event outside of Hong Kong. In addition, and following the announcement that all participating teams will take points from every round of the 2011-12 Series, the IRB has confirmed that every round of the Series will now carry the same number of points. Formerly the Hong Kong tournament carried more points than the other rounds of the Series.
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