World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 Schedule Confirmed – Stellenbosch Hosts
The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 schedule has been confirmed with two three-day tournaments including the women and men due to take place at Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa from 20-22 and 28-30 April 2023.
The Challenger Series provides a promotion pathway to the new Sevens World Series from the end of 2023 (with the new host venues still to be confirmed) in a new format.
World Rugby confirmed that the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 will take place back to back in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 20-22 and 28-30 April with 12-team men’s and women’s competitions.
World Rugby confirmed that “the teams qualified via their ranking positions within their relevant regional competitions and the pool draw will take place once the full team line-ups are confirmed in early 2023.”
World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “The Challenger Series provides a clear pathway to reach the Sevens World Series, and teams from all six World Rugby regions have the opportunity to achieve their dreams and reach the pinnacle level of international rugby sevens through their efforts in the Challenger Series.
The choice to host consecutive weekends in Stellenbosch was based on performance and sustainability factors and we look forward to working closely in partnership with the South Africa Rugby Union to deliver a high-quality performance environment for players and teams to showcase their talents.”
Sevens Challenger Series 2023 Women
There are 12 women’s teams competing and in what has come as a surprise, three Asian teams are represented – Asia Rugby and most of the Unions playing the Asia Rugby Sevens Series seemed to indicate that only the top two from the ARSS 2022 would proceed and with Japan not being counted as they are on the World Series this season.
So China, who won the ARSS 2022, Thailand who finished third behind Japan, as well as the Hong Kong ladies will be competing in South Africa.
The 12 women’s teams playing at the Challenger Series 2023 are:
- Hong Kong
- Papua New Guinea
- South Africa
- A team from South America yet to be confirmed.
Sevens Challenger Series 2023 Men
The winner of the men’s Challenger Series, which will also feature 12 teams, will enter a four-team playoff at the HSBC London Sevens in May 2023 together with the teams placed 12th-14th after ten rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – this had been confirmed at the HK Sevens 2022.
The winner of the playoff will achieve core Sevens World Series 2024 status.
Only the top two men’s teams from the ARSS 2022 will feature at the Sevens Challenger Series 2023..
The 12 men teams are:
- Hong Kong
- Papua New Guinea
World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 Format
The tournament replicates the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four.
The top two from each as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the bronze and gold medal matches.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said: “We are very grateful to have the opportunity to host the two Challenger Series tournaments next year.
“The improvement across the board in Sevens Rugby over the last few years, and the competitiveness between all teams, makes for a superb product and we can’t wait to deliver these tournaments in Stellenbosch.”
World Rugby 7s Challenger Series 2024
In addition, it was confirmed that the 2024 Challenger Series is expected to increase to three rounds and the top four ranked teams will enter a play-off with the bottom four placed Sevens World Series at a Grand Finale event.
This means that four men’s and four women’s teams will have the opportunity to achieve promotion to the pinnacle level of international rugby sevens every year from 2024 onwards.
Rugby Sevens News
- Chinese Women’s Sevens Rugby Aiming For A Strong 2023.
- Japanese Sakura 7s Wakaba Hara – Try Scoring Machine.
- New Zealand HSBC World Sevens Series 2023 Hamilton Pools.
- Results from HSBC Cape Town 7s 2022.