Sixteen teams will gather in Vichy in central France this weekend to contest the Rugby Europe Women's U18 Sevens Championship 2018.

Great Britain head into the competition as number one seeds after England beat Wales 31-0 to win last year’s tournament. Great Britain are named in Pool A and will face Russia, Georgia and Sweden on the opening day of the tournament.

RFU Performance pathway officer and England Women U18s sevens programme lead James Cooper, who will travel to France with the squad, said: “We are really excited to have the opportunity to represent Great Britain as a qualifying side at the Rugby Europe U18 Championships in Vichy, and try to secure a place at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina this October.

“The selected players have worked hard and really come together as a squad in our training camps. We are looking forward to playing against the top teams in Europe and expose the squad to high-level international sevens rugby as they continue to develop and grow individually and as a team.”

Hosts France are seeded second and find themselves in Pool B alongside Italy, Germany and Ukraine.

Pool C contains third seeds Portugal and neighbours Spain together with Belgium and Poland, while fourth seeds Ireland are paired in Pool D with the Netherlands, Andorra and Latvia.

Held over two days, the tournament serves as a qualifier for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in October and all matches will be streamed live on

However, rugby must be nominated as the chosen team sport by the winning country’s National Olympic Committee before the champion team’s place at the Youth Olympic Games is confirmed.

As per an International Olympic Committee ruling, only one male and one female team can attend the Youth Olympic Games from each nation.

To date, Japan, Canada and Colombia have qualified for the Youth Olympic Games girls’ sevens competition via their respective regional qualification tournaments. Australia's boys and New Zealand's girls won the Oceania qualification tournament last weekend but must wait to find out if rugby is the nominated sport for their nations.