The Langford leg of the women’s HSBC World Sevens Series is expected to be decisive when it comes to the overall title, qualification for the Olympics and relegation for core status.
With two rounds remaining New Zealand and Canada and New Zealand sit 26 and 20 points above fifth-placed France respectively, with the top four gaining automatic qualification for the Olympic Games. The Canada Sevens in Langford will likely see the first teams’ to secure Olympic qualification and join hosts Japan.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said on their website: “The penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Canada is set to be a thrilling event for players and fans around the world with qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at stake alongside the race for the series.”
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Suit up in your red and white to cheer on @RugbyCanada as they go for gold and battle to claim their Olympic spot at Tokyo 2020 🥇🇨🇦
— HSBC Canada Sevens (@CanadaSevens) March 21, 2019
Brazil, who earned their place as a core team for next season in Hong Kong in April, will take part in Canada as the invitation side.
In Pool A, hosts Canada will face Australia, Ireland and Brazil. While in Pool B, England face New Zealand, Russia and China. Leading Pool C, the USA will tackle France, Fiji and Spain.
While the top teams aim to secure Olympic spots, at the bottom end of the standings there is a furious battle to avoid relegation. Only three points separate the bottom three teams, with Spain on 16 ahead of Fiji (13) and China (10).
Canada won the Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan last month to break New Zealand’s run of three straight titles this season. “The results in Kitakyushu are a strong demonstration of the increasing competitiveness in the women’s sevens game with any of the top teams capable of beating each other,” said Beaumont.
Beaumont said the expansion of the women’s world series from six to eight next season was testament to World Rugby’s efforts to develop women’s rugby.
“These are exciting times for sevens with the women’s series set to expand from six to eight rounds over the next four-year cycle, a historic move that will provide more high-quality competitive international playing opportunities for women’s sevens teams, a core strand of our accelerating the global development of women in rugby,” said Beaumont.
Main photo: Rugby Canada