Dubai Rugby Sevens lineup released with newcomers Brazil and Japan
The 16-team field for the 2014 Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament was released on Thursday, highlighted by new faces Japan, winners of the last Sevens World Series qualifying tournament, and Brazil, the 2016 Summer Olympics hosts.
The two new nations will replace relegated Spain and Russia, who were a one-off participant in the tournament last year.
The rest of the 14 core nations, including 2013 Dubai winners Fiji and the Sevens World Series champions, New Zealand, will return to round out the field.
The women’s tournament will return 2013 winners Australia with six other core nations as well as qualifiers Fiji, China, France and South Africa. Two other women’s teams, yet to be announced, will be receive invites.
Another 228 teams will participate in the Invitation Tournament, consisting of 15 sections that include local men’s and women’s club teams, veterans and under-18s, Emirati and other social sides.
Fiji won a memorable 2013 tournament, sensationally routing New Zealand 44-0 in the finals before beating South Africa 29-17 for their first victory in Dubai after having been runners-up on six previous occasions.
The All Blacks and England finished third and fourth, respectively.
An important wrinkle added to the overall 2014/15 World Series will be Olympic qualification, ahead of the 2016 Games which will include rugby sevens as an event for the first time.
“It really is a great showcase for Dubai, a fantastic sporting occasion with the world’s top players on show, and it’s always a wonderful atmosphere’ said Gary Chapman, president of group services and data for the Emirates Group, in a press release. “This year the competition promises to be tougher than ever with qualification for the Olympics on offer. The standard of play will be exceptional.”
The tournament, second on the Sevens World Series calendar, is scheduled for December 4-6, with tickets going on sale October 15.
Men’s field: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA, Wales.
Women’s field: Australia, Canada, China, England, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, South Africa, USA (two more to be invited).
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Updated: September 21, 2014 04:00 AM