Tokyo Olympics places on line in World Rugby Sevens

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The World Rugby Sevens Series, which next season doubles as a qualifying competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, kicks off in Dubai on November 30, the organisers confirmed Sunday.

South Africa are the defending champions, pipping Fiji for the title after defeating England in Paris to win the final leg of the 10-round series.

After the November 30/December 1 Dubai Sevens, South Africa will enjoy home advantage in Cape Town over the weekend of December 8/9.

Hamilton, Sydney, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris are the other venues for the seven-a-side format that is becoming increasingly popular.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement: “As we enter an Olympic Games qualifying year, the sevens series promises to again be highly competitive as teams look to secure their place at Tokyo 2020.

Rugby sevens has seen record growth in awareness in recent years with its inclusion in the Olympics having a profound effect on the sport, attracting an estimated 30 million fans globally.

“The series continues to capture the imagination of global audiences with record-breaking fan engagement figures of over 120 million video views recorded this year.

“The world series is truly one of rugby sevens’ flagship competitions and we are looking forward to watching teams once again compete at the highest level for not only the title, but also Olympic qualification.”

World Rugby Sevens schedule

Nov 30/Dec 1: Dubai

Dec 8/9: Cape Town

Jan 26/27: Hamilton

Feb 2/3: Sydney

Mar 1/3: Las Vegas

Mar 9/10: Vancouver

Apr 5/7: Hong Kong

Apr 13/14: Singapore

May 25/26: London

June 1/2: Paris

Agence France-Presse

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