The pools and match schedule have been announced for the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford, Victoria, on 11-12 May.
The penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019 is expected to be key in not only the race for the title but also for qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The top four teams in the 2019 series will confirm their place in Tokyo alongside host nation Japan with New Zealand, Canada, USA and Australia currently in the coveted spots.
With New Zealand and Canada now sitting 26 and 20 points above fifth place France respectively with two rounds remaining, it is possible that Langford will see the first teams secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 after hosts Japan.
Brazil, hosts of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, will join the 11 core teams in Langford as the invitational team, only weeks after securing their return to the series next season as a core team with victory in the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.
Canada will go into their home event in buoyant mood after winning the title in Kitakyushu last weekend, their first Cup success on the series since February 2017.
They will face Australia, runners-up in Langford in 2018, as well as Ireland and Brazil in Pool A at Westhills Stadium.
Kitakyushu runners-up England will meet series leaders and defending Canada Women’s Sevens champions New Zealand, Russia and China in Pool B.
USA, bronze medallists in Kitakyushu, will tackle France, Fiji and Spain in Pool C.
While the race for Olympic qualification has tightened after Kitakyushu, the same is true of the battle to avoid relegation from the series with Spain, Fiji and China separated by just six points with two rounds to go.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Canada is set to be a thrilling event for players and fans around the world with qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at stake alongside the race for the series title.
“The results in Kitakyushu are a strong demonstration of the increasing competitiveness in the women’s sevens game with any of the top teams capable of beating each other.
“These are exciting times for sevens with the women’s series set to expand from six to eight rounds over the next four-year cycle, an historic move that will provide more high-quality competitive international playing opportunities for women’s sevens teams, a core strand of our Accelerating the global development of women in rugby plan.”