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 who 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.