The countdown to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009
begins in earnest following the Pool Allocation Draw for the men's and
women's events at The Atlantis hotel in Dubai on Monday.
For the first time ever a 16-team women's event
will run alongside the traditional 24-team men's competition at
Dubai's magnificent new venue 'The Sevens' from 5-7 March, 2009.
In the men's draw the eight Melrose Cup quarter
finalists from 2005 pre-qualified along with the host nation
Arabian Gulf, while 15 other nations booked their places through
tournaments held across the IRB's six regions. The women's teams
all came through a competitive global qualifying process involving
England, the top seeds in the women’s
competition, will face Japan, Russia and USA in Pool B, while
second seeds and Oceania champions Australia are joined in Pool A
by Netherlands, France and China.
North America champions Canada will meet Brazil
- the first nation to qualify for the inaugural tournament, along
with Spain and Thailand in Pool C, with New Zealand drawn with
South Africa, Italy and Uganda in Pool D.
In the men's draw, defending champions Fiji will
face France, USA and Georgia in Pool B as they attempt to become
the first side to successfully defend the Melrose Cup following
their success in Hong Kong four years ago.
New Zealand, winners in 2001, are joined in Pool
A by Tonga, hosts Arabian Gulf and Italy, while IRB Sevens World
Series leaders South Africa find Scotland, Canada and Japan
awaiting them in Pool C in Dubai.
Fourth seeds Samoa will face Australia, Portugal
and Ireland in Pool D, while 1993 champions England tackle Kenya,
Tunisia and Hong Kong in Pool E. The remaining Pool F brings
together Argentina, Wales, Zimbabwe and Uruguay.
The six pool winners and best two runners up
will progress to the Melrose Cup quarter finals, the four other
runners up and four best sides that finish third in their pool
will contest the Plate and the remaining sides the Bowl.
The Men's Draw
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