The draw for the 2018/19 World Series Qualifier has taken place.
The bottom team in this year’s Women’s Sevens World Series will again be relegated, and will be replaced by the winner of the Qualifier, to be played as part of Hong Kong Sevens, 5-6 April.
The top ranked teams from in each continent, not already playing in the World Series, qualified. Three teams from Europe and Asia, two from Africa and South America, and one each from Oceania and North America & the Caribbean. For the draw the teams were grouped based on their finishing positions in their own championships, and the success of continental teams in previous years.
One effect of this was to put teams from the same continents into different pots, which meant a theoretical (if long-odds) chance that all of the teams from the same continent could be drawn together.
Quite remarkably this is what happened. Although South America’s two teams were kept apart, both of Africa’s teams were drawn in Pool A, all three of Asia’s teams were grouped together in Pool B, and all three of Europe’s teams will meet each other in Pool C.
The favourites will obviously be the three top seeds in each pool – South Africa, beaten finalists in last year’s qualifier; Brazil, relegated from the World Series last year; and Wales, the top ranked team from Europe who last played in a qualifier in 2016, where they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals.
Most of the teams in the tournament have played in this tournament before, but it will be a new experience for two. Kazakhstan’s return from the wilderness (under a new coach, but with the evergreen Anna Yakovleva still captain) gives the former Asian champions their first chance to reach the World Series; and Poland, the surprise team of last year’s European Championship.
Group A: South Africa, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Mexico
Group B: Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong
Group C: Wales, Belgium, Argentina, Poland
ARGENTINA: Daniel Villen (Coach); Sofia Gonzalez (23); Yamila Otero (27); Mayra Aguilar (22); Valeria Montero (26); Josefina Padellaro (20); Maria Paula Pedrozo (21); Deborah Fretes Hernandez (34); Maria Florencia Moreno (23); Agostina Campos (24); Jackeline Corso (21); Anael Jemima Fernandez (18); Gimena Mattus (20)
BELGIUM: Guillaume Mundele (Coach); Carmen De Donder (26); Nele Pien (27); Evelien Rosier (27); Margaux Stevins (25); Sytske D'haeseleir (28); Cecile Blondiau (24); Emilie Musch (29); Geertrui Vercaemer (25); Hanne Boedt (23); Gaelle Portier (30); Charlotte Timperman (23); Margaux Lalli (29)
BRAZIL: Reuben Samuel (Coach); Luiza Campos (27); Paula Harumi Ishibashi (33); Beatriz Futuro Muhlbauer (32); Haline Scratut (25); Amanda Araujo (28); Isadora Cerullo (27); Claudia Teles (26); Bianca Dos Santos Silva (19); Mariana Nicolau Da Silva (20); Leila Cassia Silva (21); Rafaela Zanellato (18); Raquel Kochhann (25)
CHINA: Lu Zhuan (Coach); Keyi Chen (22); Yuanyuan Lu (24); Min Yang (23); Xiaoming Yu (24); Meiling Yan (21); Xiaoqian Liu (22); Xiaoyan Xu (20); Yu Hu (18); Wan Yu Wang (21); Yueying Gao (20); Cai Hong Sun (20); Liping Yu (24)
HONG KONG: Kevin West (Coach); Colleen Tjosvold (29); Cheng Cheng (32); Kwong Kwong (29); Nim Yan Li (25); Ka Man Nam (25); Sham Sham (30); Chor Ki Chan (27); Tsz Ching Chan (22); Hoi Yan Poon (23); Wing Chi Amber Tsang (24); Wing Kiu Tse (27); Natasha Olson-Thorne (25)
KAZAKHSTAN: Valerii Popov (Coach); Anna Yakovleva (34); Olessya Teryayeva (32); Aigerym Daurembayeva (37); Kundyzay Baktybayeva (29); Symbat Zhamankulova (26); Nigora Nurmatova (28); Balzhan Koishybayeva (24); Karina Proskurina (27); Valerii Bekker (22); Lyudmila Korotkih (29); Darya Tkacheva (24); Veronika Stepanyuga (23)
KENYA: Kevin Wambua (Coach); Doreen Remour Nziwa (35); Rachael Adhiambo Mbogo (35); Celestine Navalayo Masinde (31); Sheila Kavugwe Chajira (24); Philadelphia Olando (28); Janet Awuor Awino (32); Sinaida Omondi (26); Janet Musindalo Okelo (25); Camilla Atieno (22); Grace Adhiambo Okulu (20); Judith Auma (19); Linet Moraa (22)
MEXICO: Robin Macdowell (Coach); Bertha Alicia Fernandez (25); Daniela Rosales (29); Karime Cabrera (22); Fernanda Carrillo (26); Isabela Gonzalez (28); Alma Jimenez (24); Karmin Macedo (23); Yazmin Ramirez (25); Vanessa Rodriguez (18); Brenda Weinel (34); Margely Angulo (20); Carolina Sandoval (23)
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: John Larry (Coach); Joana Lagona (29); Geau Larry (28); Cassandra Sampson (28); Freda Waula (22); Lynette Kwarula (27); Helen Abau (26); Fatima Rama (37); Taiva Lavai (34); Chelsea Garesa (18); Mavis Biyama (20); Yolanda Gittins (25); Debbie Kaore (28)
POLAND: Janusz Urbanowicz (Coach); Laura Abucewicz (31); Karolina Jaszczyszyn (29); Anna Klichowska (25); Magdalena Korona (30); Hanna Maliszewska (25); Marlena Mroczynska (32); Natalia Pamieta (18); Katarzyna Paszczyk (25); Monika Pietrzak (23); Angelika Singel (22); Julianna Schuster (20); Agnieszka Kowalczyk (31)
SOUTH AFRICA: Paul Delport (Coach); Zenay Jordaan (27); Mathrin Simmers (30); Veroeshka Grain (27); Marithy Pienaar (26); Zintle Mpupha (24); Megan Comley (30); Unathi Elis Mali (28); Nadine Roos (21); Chane Stadler (24); Christelene Steinhoebel (27); Eloise Webb (22); Zinhle Ndawonde (28)
WALES: Nick Wakley (Coach); Sinead Breeze (28); Laurie Harries (28); Sioned Harries (28); Hannah Jones (21); Bethan Lewis (19); Kayleigh Powell (19); Shona Powell Hughes (26); Gemma Rowland (29); Elinor Snowsill (28); Philippa Tuttiett (34); Sian Williams (27); Jasmine Joyce (22)
Oldest squad: Kazakhstan (27.9)
Youngest squad: China (21.6)