Uganda Sevens await tough test in World Rugby 7s Challenger Series 

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By Morris Rawal

The World Rugby 7s Challenger Series will include Uganda Sevens on April 20–22 and April 28–30, 2023, at Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The tournament’s specifics were unveiled on Wednesday with the announcement of two three-day tournaments for both men and women.

Uganda Sevens participated at all levels of the game in 2022, which was a busy year for them. The team will continue to be tested at a higher level thanks to the 2023 Challenger Series in South Africa.

The squad took part in the first two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series earlier this month in Cape Town and Dubai. Although it was a failure, the team under Tolbert Onyango’s coaching is still growing.

The Rugby Africa Men’s 7s victory by Uganda Sevens, which earned them a spot in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom, was the year’s major highlight.

The squad performed admirably in Birmingham and won the Bowl in the World Cup. Later, in August, they participated in the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Santiago, Chile.

Uganda joins the other 11 men’s teams competing in the Challenger Series this year, including those from Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Korea, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Zimbabwe.

The teams were chosen based on their standings in the pertinent regional championships, and the pool draw will happen after the complete squad lineups are known in early 2023.

Together with the teams that finished 12th through 14th following ten rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the winner of the men’s Challenger Series will compete in a four-team play-off at the HSBC London Sevens in May 2023. The play-off winner will advance to the Sevens World Series 2024.

Belgium, China, Colombia, Czechia, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, and an unconfirmed team from South America are among the 12 women’s teams playing.

The 12 teams are divided into three pools of four, mimicking the competitive system used at the Olympic Games.

The top two from each group, together with the two best third-place finishers, will advance to the elimination rounds, where the bronze and gold medal matches will be played after the quarterfinals and semifinals.

The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series is a yearly run of international rugby sevens competitions that features both men’s and women’s competitions.

It is the second level of play beneath the World Rugby Sevens Series and is sponsored by the financial organization HSBC.

Teams on the respective Challenger Series circuits for men and women fight for core team advancement to the top tier.

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