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Captains ready for World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger final round

Captains of the 12 women’s and 12 men’s teams competing in the third and final round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 gathered in Krakow, Poland and Munich, Germany respectively.
  • Third and final round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 takes place in Munich, Germany and Krakow, Poland on 18-19 May
  • The top four placed men’s and women’s teams will secure a place in the new HSBC SVNS promotion and relegation play-off competition in Madrid on 31 May-2 June
  • Uruguay men and China women lead the standings after first two rounds in Dubai and Montevideo
  • The 12-team competition format replicates the Olympic Games with three pools of four teams each
  • All six World Rugby regions represented in competition designed to boost the global development of rugby sevens
  • Fans around the globe can watch the action on rugbypass.tv

The international rugby sevens action taking place on 18-19 May will see the top four placed men’s and women’s teams will secure a place in the new HSBC SVNS promotion and relegation play-off competition in Madrid on 31 May-2 June.

VIEW POOLS AND FIXTURES >>

Uruguay men and China women lead the Challenger standings after two rounds in Dubai and Montevideo as the race to secure an all-important top four place reaches its climax this weekend.

Uruguay lead the men’s standings on 36 points following victory on home soil in Montevideo to add to their bronze medal at the opening round in Dubai. Kenya were winners in Dubai and are in second place also on 36 points, ahead of Chile on 32 points and Germany on 26 points, who are narrowly ahead of Hong Kong China on points difference with all to play for in the final round in Munich.

China have proved to be the dominant team in the women’s competition with a perfect 40 points after claiming gold in the first two rounds. Argentina are in second position on 34 points following silver in Montevideo and bronze in Dubai. Belgium and Uganda are third and fourth respectively, both on 28 points followed by Kenya on 24 points and Poland on 22 points who will both be looking to push for a top-four place in Krakow.

At the official launch, Argentina women’s captain Sofia Gonzalez said: “The team is really looking forward to the tournament this weekend and we have high expectations. I am very excited and really looking forward to taking to the field here in Krakow, representing Argentina and obviously with our main ambition of finishing amongst the top four and qualifying for Madrid.”

Poland captain Natalia Pamieta also spoke at the launch event in Krakow, saying: “We are very excited to play again in Krakow. In the last two years for European Championship and European Games we had our friends and families in the stands and with this crowd here in Krakow, we always feel like we have the eighth player in the team.

“This HSBC Challenger Series is crucial for us because we still have chance to make our dreams come true and I really hope that for us it is not the last tournament in the series this year and we will go to Madrid in two weeks’ time. This is also a step on the way to the Olympics and we will keep preparing to be part of Paris 2024, so there a lot at stake for us this weekend and we are really looking forward for our first game on Saturday.”

VIEW SEVENS CHALLENGER STANDINGS AND NEWS >>

The pool draw for the Challenger final round took place at Hong Kong Stadium prior to the HSBC SVNS 2024 event last month and fans can look forward to some exciting match-ups this weekend.

MEN’S PREVIEW - GERMANY >>

MEN’S PREVIEW – HONG KONG CHINA >>

Men’s leaders Uruguay are drawn in Pool A alongside hosts Germany, Georgia and Papua New Guinea. Hong Kong China will be looking to continue the fine form that saw them claim silver in Montevideo and will face Uganda, Tonga and Mexico in Pool B. Meanwhile Kenya, Chile, Portugal and Japan make up a tough looking Pool C.

WOMEN’S PRVIEW – CHINA >>

WOMEN’S PREVIEW – ARGENTINA >>

In the women’s event leaders China will face Thailand, Hong Kong China and Czechia in Pool A. Second placed Argentina are in Pool B together with Uganda, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea. Pool C sees Belgium, Poland, Kenya and Mexico drawn together.

Uruguay men’s captain Diego Ardao said: “We are here to secure our spot in Madrid but before thinking about Madrid we are focused on this tournament in Munich to try to achieve the first position again keep growing our confidence so that when we get to Madrid we are at the best level mentally, physically and tactically.”

Germany men’s captain John Dawn said: “It’s really exciting to play in front of our fans in Munich this weekend and the opportunity to be able to grow rugby here and across the whole of Germany is great. It’s a high pressure tournament for us with a lot at stake but we will take every game as it comes and not look too far ahead. Rugby sevens has a massive festival culture so I would encourage everyone to come down to support us and enjoy themselves this weekend.”

Hong Kong China men’s captain Seb Ryan said: “Last time out in Montevideo we really grew throughout the tournament, so we’re hoping to do the same here. It’s a straight shoot-out for that vital fourth position in Madrid between ourselves and the home team Germany so it doesn’t get much more exciting than that. It would mean everything to us to get on to HSBC SVNS 2025.”

All teams qualified for the Challenger 2024 through their respective regional competitions, while three men’s teams – Kenya, Japan and Uruguay – will showcase their talents on the biggest stage of all at the Olympic Games in Paris where the rugby sevens kicks off on 24 July, 2024.

The Challenger tournaments replicate the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams each. The top two from each pool as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the third place and gold medal matches.

The Sevens Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby sevens for the short format of the game which has experienced huge growth over the past two decades since the introduction of the global sevens series and becoming an Olympic sport at the Rio 2016 Games.

The 2024 edition of the Challenger competition kicked off with combined men’s and women’s event at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January, which was won by Kenya men and China women. The combined second round took place in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March and the third and final round of the 2024 competition will see standalone women’s and men’s events at Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland and Dantestadion in Munich, Germany respectively on 18-19 May.

World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “There is more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger with four men’s and four women’s teams having the opportunity to gain promotion to HSBC SVNS 2025 through the new promotion and relegation tournament in Madrid.

“The quality of competition across the first two rounds in Dubai and Montevideo has been excellent and we can expect more thrilling international rugby sevens, intense drama and end to end action in both Munich and Krakow this weekend.

“This year represents a step change for the Challenger as sevens continues to be at the forefront of rugby’s global growth strategy. Our thanks and gratitude to the event hosts, our title partner HSBC and all other stakeholders for what promises to be an enthralling weekend of rugby sevens.”

Fans around the globe can watch the action on rugbypass.tv.

Tickets for the men’s event in Munich are available here with tickets for the women’s event in Krakow available here.

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