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Mon 9 Jul 2018 08:16 AM

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Dubai Rugby Sevens to kick-off competition for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Dubai Rugby Sevens opens the World Rugby Sevens Series on November 30 and December 1

Dubai Rugby Sevens to kick-off competition for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
New Zealand and England players vie for the ball during the semi-final match between New Zealand and England in the Men's Sevens World Rugby Dubai Series on December 2, 2017 in Dubai.

The World Rugby Sevens Series, which next season doubles as a qualifying competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, kicks off in Dubai on November 30, the organisers confirmed Sunday.

South Africa are the defending champions, pipping Fiji for the title after defeating England in Paris to win the final leg of the 10-round series.

After the November 30/December 1 Dubai Sevens, South Africa will enjoy home advantage in Cape Town over the weekend of December 8/9.

Hamilton, Sydney, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris are the other venues for the seven-a-side format that is becoming increasingly popular.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement: "As we enter an Olympic Games qualifying year, the sevens series promises to again be highly competitive as teams look to secure their place at Tokyo 2020.

"Rugby sevens has seen record growth in awareness in recent years with its inclusion in the Olympics having a profound effect on the sport, attracting an estimated 30 million fans globally.

"The series continues to capture the imagination of global audiences with record-breaking fan engagement figures of over 120 million video views recorded this year.

"The world series is truly one of rugby sevens’ flagship competitions and we are looking forward to watching teams once again compete at the highest level for not only the title, but also Olympic qualification."

World Rugby Sevens schedule

  • Nov 30/Dec 1: Dubai
  • Dec 8/9: Cape Town
  • Jan 26/27: Hamilton
  • Feb 2/3: Sydney
  • Mar 1/3: Las Vegas
  • Mar 9/10: Vancouver
  • Apr 5/7: Hong Kong
  • Apr 13/14: Singapore
  • May 25/26: London
  • June 1/2: Paris