"The first IRB sanctioned international seven-a-side tournament for women played in Dubai later this year. It is the first step towards the planned sevens series for women (corresponding to the IRB Sevens World Series) that they intended to begin by early as 2012."
Reaction from Netherlands and France to their exclusion from Dubai has been remarkably muted, and this may be the reason. December's event sounds like it is being sold as a one-off trial - with a proper series not starting until next season. Responses also hint that, to qualify for this series (from Europe at least) a nation may have finish in the top two at next year's European Championship.
As it stands, seven of the eight teams in Dubai do have an arguably legitimate reason for being there:
- Australia (Reigning world champions)
- England (European champions 2011),
- China (Asian Champions 2010)
- Canada (NACRA Champions 2008 - the last time it was played - and Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Amsterdam winners last season),
- South Africa (African winners 2008 - also the last time it was played)
- Brazil (South American Champions 2011)
- Spain (European Champions 2010, and Runners up 2011)
- Kazakhstan - Asian Games champions 2010 (beating China)
- France - Runners up at Dubai and Hong Kong last season
- Netherlands - Runners up at Las Vegas, third in Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Rome
- Fiji - Pacific Games champions