• Opening round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 takes place at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January
  • The 12-team men’s and women’s competition format replicates the Olympic Games with three pools of four teams each
  • The Challenger runs from January to May with men’s and women’s combined events in Dubai, UAE and Montevideo, Uruguay before standalone events in Germany and Poland for men and women respectively
  • The Challenger provides a promotion pathway to HSBC SVNS 2025 with the top four placed men’s and women’s teams securing their place in the new promotion and relegation play-off competition at the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final in Madrid
  • All six World Rugby regions represented in competition designed to boost the global development of rugby sevens

The captains of the 12 women’s and 12 men’s teams gathered at Dubai Creek Harbour on Wednesday ahead of the opening round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024, which takes place at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January.

There is more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger with the competition expanded to three rounds and the top four placed men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the new promotion and relegation play-off competition at the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final in Madrid.


The pool draw, which took place in December during the HSBC SVNS 2024 opening round at the same venue in Dubai, produced some exciting match-ups. Three teams in the men’s competition – Uruguay, Japan and Kenya – have already booked their places at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and they headline Pools A, B and C respectively. All teams qualified for the Challenger 2024 through regional competitions.

Men’s pools:

Pool A: Uruguay, Hong Kong China, Papua New Guinea, Georgia
Pool B: Japan, Tonga, Chile, Portugal
Pool C: Kenya, Germany, Uganda, Mexico


Women’s pools:

Pool A: Belgium, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Uganda
Pool B: China, Czechia, Mexico, Kenya
Pool C: Poland, Hong Kong China, Paraguay, Argentina


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.

Kenya men’s captain Tony Omondi reflected on overcoming South Africa to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024: “It feels amazing to have led the team in qualifying for the Olympics. It is the pinnacle of sports in the world so playing in the Olympics is a dream come true for every athlete.

“The Olympics is a big plus for us but we all know we fell short of playing in the SVNS series this year and the goal is to get back into the series and with the current crop of players that we have I believe that is possible. Preparations have gone well. We know that to have a shot at getting back on the Series we have to finish in the top four and that is the motive.”

Belgium women’s captain Cécile Blondiau said: “We are really excited about the new format of the Challenger competition as it gives more chances to more teams to reach the next level of rugby. We are also excited to see our new, young players show what they can do. Our hopes are to finish in the top four and we are really excited to begin the competition here in Dubai.”

Portugal men’s captain Duarte Moreira said : “It was a big accomplishment for us to qualify for the Challenger and it’s a new opportunity for us to go back into the Series so it’s going to be a great challenge for us.

“The new generation of fifteens players that went to the Rugby World Cup was very inspiration for us and a time for all of us to try and push and exceed ourselves to try to be like them.”

Poland captain Natalia Pamieta said: “We are really excited because we have been waiting for a few years to qualify for the World Series so I hope that now it is the time for us. Our hopes are to qualify for the World Series and also the Olympic Games from the final qualifier event in Monaco.”

The 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 kicks off with combined events at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January, followed by Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March before 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.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger 2024 dates:

Dubai, UAE – 12-14 January (men and women)
Montevideo, Uruguay – 8-10 March (men and women)
Krakow, Poland - 18-19 May  (women) 
Munich, Germany –18-19 May (men)

Fans around the globe can watch all the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger action from Dubai live on RugbyPass.TV