With 100 days to go until Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 kicks off in Dubai, the showpiece tournament is on course to deliver a festival of breathtaking Rugby, world class facilities and a memorable event for fans attending from all over the world.
The tournament, which for the first time in RWC Sevens history features a women's competition alongside the men's event, is on course to take Rugby World Cup Sevens to new heights after a record-breaking tournament three years ago in Hong Kong.
Ticket, travel, commercial and broadcast programmes are all on track as Dubai looks set to welcome up to 120,000 supporters from all over the world to Emirates Airline's purpose-built facility 'The Sevens' over the three competition days.
Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament Director Beth Coalter, speaking from Dubai ahead of this week's opening round of the hugely popular IRB Sevens World Series at The Sevens, said that she is impressed with the high level of planning and preparation for the tournament - the largest RWC Sevens to date.
"With 100 days to go until the start of Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai we are confident that we are on track to deliver the best ever Rugby World Cup Sevens. The new Sevens facility looks superb and will deliver world class facilities for the teams and for the thousands of fans who will travel from all over the world to attend this special event to watch the best players," said Coalter.
The tournament will be played on two Rugby pitches with men's and women's matches played on both over the three days ensuring that the teams get to experience the special atmosphere of the main pitch. The finals will all be played on the main pitch and I am sure that both the men's and women's tournaments will deliver wonderfully competitive and exciting matches._x001D_
The global qualification process for the tournament is now complete.
Defending champions Fiji, New Zealand, England, South Africa, Australia, France, Scotland and Argentina all qualified automatically after reaching the Melrose Cup quarter-finals at RWC Sevens 2005 in Hong Kong.
They will be joined by Host Union, the Arabian Gulf, plus regional qualifiers Uruguay (South America), Portugal, Wales, Georgia, Ireland, Italy (Europe), Samoa, Tonga (Oceania), Japan, Hong Kong (Asia), USA, Canada (North America), Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tunisia (Africa) in the men's tournament.
In the women's event Brazil (South America), England, Netherlands, Russia, France, Spain, Italy (Europe), Australia, New Zealand (Oceania), South Africa, Uganda (Africa), Japan, Thailand, China (Asia), Canada and USA (North America) have all confirmed their places in Dubai through regional qualifiers.
The global qualifying process has been a great success,_x001D_ added Coalter. _x001C_It is the largest ever qualification process for a RWC Sevens with 87 men's teams and 83 women's teams from all six IRB regions competing to secure a place for Dubai.
In addition, the standard of competition across every qualifying tournament has been extremely high. Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 promises to be a spectacular event and the IRB looks forward to welcoming the global Rugby community to Dubai in March._x001D_
Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group, added: _x001C_With just 100 days to go to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009, we are thrilled with the way everything has come together at Emirates' new sports facility, The Sevens._x001D_
This weekend's Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens will see the public and players getting their first glimpse of the spectacular new venue. And we are certain that in 100 days time it will be even more impressive when we welcome the world back for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 - the largest global sports event Dubai has hosted to date._x001D_
The pools and tournament schedule for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 will be announced at a Rugby World Cup Sevens press conference in Dubai on January 19.