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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
World Cup Sevens plans announced
IRB Sevens
The 2009 World Cup Sevens will take place from 5-7 March, the International Rugby Board has announced.

The event in Dubai will have a women's competition for the first time and the final 16 teams will have to qualify from 83 sides in regional tournaments.

On the men's side, England and Scotland are two of nine automatic qualifiers as they reached the 2005 quarter-finals.

Fifteen others countries will come from a qualification process starting in January 2008.

Three qualifiers will come from Africa, two from North America, one from South America, two from Asia, five from Europe and two from Oceania.

"These regional qualifying tournaments are a very exciting prospect," said IRB chairman Dr Syd Millar.

"Dovetailing with the highly successful IRB Sevens World Series, these tournaments will ensure that there will be an unprecedented amount of elite level Sevens played during 2008 and 2009."

He added: "The inclusion of a women's Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament running alongside the men's in Dubai is an exciting development for the women's game.

"I am sure that the regional qualifying tournaments will assist in raising the global profile of women's Sevens."

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