World Rugby have announced the teams that will compete for a place in the 2023/4 World Series.
11 of the 12 teams that will compete for a place in the relaunched World Series have been announced.
Belgium, China, Colombia, Czechia, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, and a team from South America will compete in the Seven Challenger Series which will – for the first time - be played over two tournaments at the Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 20-22 and 28-30 April, 2023.
The winner of the 12-team women’s Challenger Series will gain automatic promotion to the Sevens World Series 2023/24 – the last time that promotion will be automatic. From next year four teams from the challengers will qualify for a separate tournament where they will meet the bottom four teams from the series to compete for a place in the following year’s series.
The tournament replicates the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four. The top two from each as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the bronze and gold medal matches.
The Challenger Series was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the pinnacle HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Following an the Challenger Series returned in August 2022 with a standalone combined event hosted in Santiago, Chile, which saw and Japan take the title and secure promotion to the current edition of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In 2024 the Challenger Series is expected to increase to three rounds and the top four ranked teams will enter a play-off with the bottom four placed Sevens World Series at a Grand Finale event, meaning four men’s and four women’s teams will have the opportunity to achieve promotion to the pinnacle level of international rugby sevens every year from 2024 onwards.