The road to Rio gets a step closer this December as 12 teams get set to battle it out to secure a place at the Olympic Games in 2016.
With the top four teams at the end of the 2014/15 series qualifying for the Olympics, all eyes are on Dubai as the series opens on December 4.
Reigning champions New Zealand are back to defend their crown – they claimed the title for the past two seasons, but competition will be even tougher this year with a spot in Rio up for grabs. They have been drawn in Pool A alongside Russia, USA and China.
Australia ran New Zealand extremely close last season, with the series coming down to the wire at the last round in Amsterdam in May. Tim Walsh’s team are drawn in Pool B with Spain, France and South Africa.
Pool C is made up of Canada and England, who will be buoyed by their Fifteens players performances at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup, along with Fiji, who join as a core team this season, and Olympic Games' hosts Brazil.
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The third IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, which kicks off in Dubai, has been extended to six tournaments this year, following the success of the previous two seasons.
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IRB Sevens General Manager Avan Lee said: "Women’s Sevens has never been bigger and this season is very important for the series and also for the growth of the Game."
"With four qualification places to the Olympic Games 2016 on offer, the competitiveness and intensity of women’s Sevens is on the increase. I am confident that we will see some outstanding Rugby in this season's expanded IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, which is a reflection of the ever increasing popularity of the women’s Game."