The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series will return with a standalone, combined event in Santiago, Chile on 12-14 August, 2022, following a one-year break due to the global pandemic.
The 12 women’s and 12 men’s teams from all six World Rugby regions qualified via regional competitions and will compete over three days at Estadio Santa Laura with the tournament winners achieving the highly coveted core status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023.
The competition format replicates the Olympic Games, which sees the 12 teams drawn in to three pools of four teams each.
The top two from each pool along with the two best third-placed teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, before the semi-finals and final will decide the winners who gain the ultimate prize of promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The draw for the men’s pools sees hosts Chile paired with South Korea, Papua New Guinea and Georgia in Pool A. In Pool B Hong Kong will take on Tonga, Jamaica and Zimbabwe.
While a strong Germany outfit that produced impressive performances as an invitational team on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2021 and 2022 are in pool C with Uruguay, Uganda and Lithuania.
In the women’s competition hosts, Chile are in pool D where they will face opposition from China, Kenya and South Africa, who played as an invitational team in the final event of the 2022 Series in Toulouse in May.
Poland and Belgium represented themselves with distinction as invitational teams at the 2022 Series events in Malaga and Seville and will face each other in pool E alongside Argentina and Papua New Guinea. Japan have plenty of experience in the Series, including in Langford this year, and they will take on Kazakhstan, Colombia and Mexico in pool F.
The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series was launched in February 2020 to boost rugby sevens’ development across the globe.
The competition acts as the promotion pathway for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with the men’s and women’s Challenger Series winners becoming a core team on the World Series for the following season.
The men’s Challenger Series 2020 featured two rounds, both played in South America. Japan’s men’s team gained promotion following the inaugural pair of events.
This year’s event will see the debut for women’s teams in the Challenger Series after the planned inaugural women’s Challenger Series event scheduled to take place in March 2020 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, was unable to take place due to the pandemic.
Rugby sevens players and fans can look forward to a very busy and exciting rest of 2022 with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 29-31 July, followed by the Challenger Series, the grand finale of the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 on 26-27 August before Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on 9-11 September.
World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series is a vital component of our ambitious plans to develop the sport further across the globe, and with the prize of promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 at stake for the winners, the competition across the three day event will be intense from start to finish.
“Rugby sevens is a key driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations, and it firmly remains a top priority for World Rugby.
Following the highly impactful Olympic competition in Tokyo last year, which caught the imagination of many new fans worldwide, the short format game continues to expand and captivate audiences with its dynamic, skillful and exciting nature.
“We thank the Federación de Rugby de Chile for their partnership in delivering this important event for the first time since the inaugural event in 2020, and we are working very closely together to ensure a high performance environment for players and teams to showcase their talents.”
Federación de Rugby de Chile President Cristian Rudloff said: “As Chile Rugby we are very proud of the confidence that World Rugby places in us again for the realisation of a world mega event.
This is undoubtedly a result of the serious and professional work that we have developed in the last three years. As a country, we are preparing to receive our guests with our usual warmth, and we are preparing to have a world sports festival.
“The dispute for promotion to the World Series will be the maximum motivation for athletes who also dream of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“We will continue to work so that all rugby players in Chile have the opportunity to experience first-hand the best World Rugby events, such as the men’s 7’s Condors playing the Challenger Series again, and it makes us tremendously proud that our female Condors also have the opportunity to compete at the highest international level.”