Scots women to take part in new 7s Challenger event in South Africa
Top Borders players Chloe Rollie, from Jedburgh, and Lisa Thomson, of Hawick, were among the squad members for that and other sevens matches last season.
Scotland 7s head coach Scott Forrest told the Scottish Rugby website: “It’s really exciting for the squad to get the opportunity to try and qualify for the World Series again. Stellenbosch will be a new environment for all of us but we are looking forward to the tournament.
“Although Hong Kong was a great experience and showed glimpses of what this team is capable of, ultimately we fell at the final hurdle to a good Brazil team.
“We would love to go one better this season but understand the challenge that faces us is huge. Every team poses a different threat, especially China, Japan and South Africa, who have all competed on the World Series at some point this season.
“We have continued to develop as a team since competing at last year’s qualifier and learned a lot from our experiences at the World Series in Biarritz, as well as Rugby Europe during the summer. As always I’m looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”
The other nations who will compete in Stellenbosch are Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland and hosts South Africa.
The tournament format will see the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams that will compete towards a grand final, where the winner gains core team status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021, replacing the bottom placed core team at the end of this season and providing a clear and consistent pathway for teams to progress to play against the world’s best.
The Sevens Challenger Series is a new competition designed to boost rugby sevens development across the globe.
World Rugby hopes this is just the beginning for women’s participation on the Sevens Challenger Series, which will evolve to feature more rounds across the globe as it grows and develops in future years.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont, England’s Grand Slam-winning captain in 1980, said: “The launch of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for both women and men is an important milestone moment for the development of rugby sevens around the globe.
“Sevens has seen dynamic growth in interest and fan engagement since making it’s hugely successful Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and it is right to launch the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in a pivotal year for rugby sevens ahead of the spotlight shone by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The new Sevens Challenger Series will help to develop the next generation of players and bring international sevens events to new nations, further growing its popularity around the world and underscoring our commitment to be a sport for all.
“World Rugby is heavily committed to growing the women’s game – the women’s competition on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has expanded from six to eight rounds this season and teams are more competitive than ever, demonstrating the need and appetite for more women’s teams to be playing sevens at a high level with a clear pathway to progress to the very top of rugby sevens.”