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Pools Drawn for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009

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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 83 nations.

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

Pool A
New Zealand
Tonga
Arabian Gulf
Italy

Pool B
Fiji
France
USA
Georgia

Pool C
South Africa
Scotland
Canada
Japan

Pool D
Samoa
Australia
Portugal
Ireland

Pool E
England
Kenya
Tunisia
Hong Kong

Pool F
Argentina
Wales
Zimbabwe
Uruguay

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