Kenya Sevens pooled alongside Uganda in opening Dubai leg of Sevens Challenger Series

RUGBY Kenya Sevens pooled alongside Uganda in opening Dubai leg of Sevens Challenger Series

Mark Kinyanjui 16:07 - 05.12.2023

Shujaa have been placed in Pool C of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 opening round in Dubai, which will take place from 12-14 January.

The Kenya men's national sevens side, Shujaa will be facing familiar Safari Sevens foes Uganda and Germany in Pool C of the opening Dubai leg of the 2024 HSBC Challenger Series, which will take place from 12-14 January.

Kenya Sevens will also be facing Mexico in the pool, which is sure to be favorable for them as they attempt to win back promotion to the World Series for next season at the first time of asking.

The Dubai pool draw follows the recent announcement of the competition schedule which sees three rounds taking place over three continents between January and May.

The Challenger competition provides a clear promotion pathway to reach the pinnacle of HSBC SVNS in 2025.

Lionesses in pool B

The women’s side Kenya Lionesses have been placed in Pool B of the women’s category,  where they will face China, Czechia, Mexico, and Mexico.

The top four placed men’s and women’s teams from the 2024 Challenger, based on cumulative series points after the third round, will secure their opportunity to compete in the new high-stakes relegation play-off competition at the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid on 31 May-2 June 2024 against the teams ranked ninth to 12th from HSBC SVNS 2024.

Four successful nations from this Grand Final play-off will secure their place in HSBC SVNS 2025, while the other four teams will compete in their regional qualification tournaments to earn the right to compete in the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2025.  

The pool draw, which took place during the HSBC SVNS 2024 opening round in Dubai last weekend, produced some exciting match-ups. 

Three teams in the men’s competition – Uruguay, Japan and Kenya – have already booked their places at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and they headline Pools A, B, and C respectively. All teams qualified for the Challenger 2024 through regional competitions.

Men’s pools:

Pool A: Uruguay, Hong Kong China, Papua New Guinea, Georgia

Pool B: Japan, Tonga, Chile, Portugal

Pool C: Kenya, Germany, Uganda, Mexico

Women’s pools:

Pool A: Belgium, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Uganda

Pool B: China, Czechia, Mexico, Kenya

Pool C: Poland, Hong Kong China, Paraguay, Argentina

The Challenger tournaments replicate the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams each. 

The top two from each pool as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the third place and gold medal matches.

The Sevens Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby sevens for the short format of the game which has experienced huge growth over the past two decades since the introduction of the global sevens series and becoming an Olympic sport at the Rio 2016 Games.

The 2024 edition of the Challenger competition kicks off with combined events at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January, followed by Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March before standalone women’s and men’s events at Henryk Reyman's Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland and Dantestadion in Munich, Germany respectively on 18-19 May.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger 2024 dates:

Dubai, UAE – 12-14 January (men and women)Montevideo, Uruguay – 8-10 March (men and women)Krakow, Poland - 18-19 May  (women) Munich, Germany –18-19 May (men)