The pools have been confirmed for the third and final round of the men’s and women’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 at Dantestadion in Munich, Germany, and Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland, respectively on 18-19 May.

The Challenger competition provides a clear promotion pathway to reach the pinnacle HSBC SVNS in 2025, with the top four placed men’s and women’s teams from the 2024 Challenger, based on cumulative series points at the conclusion of the third round, securing their opportunity to compete in the new high stakes promotion and relegation play-off competition at the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid on 31 May – 02 June, 2024 against the teams ranked ninth to 12th from HSBC SVNS 2024.

Four successful nations from the promotion and relegation play-off event will secure their place in HSBC SVNS 2025, while the other four teams will enter their regional qualification tournaments to earn the right to compete in the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2025.

Uruguay men and China women lead the Challenger standings after two rounds in Dubai and Montevideo as the race to secure an all-important top four place reaches its climax in May.

Uruguay lead the men’s standings on 36 points following victory on home soil in Montevideo to add to their bronze medal at the opening round in Dubai. Kenya were winners in Dubai and are in second place also on 36 points, ahead of Chile on 32 points and Germany on 26 points, who are narrowly ahead of Hong Kong China on points difference with all to play for in the final round in Munich.

China have proved to be the dominant team in the women’s competition with a perfect 40 points after claiming gold in the first two rounds. Argentina are in second position on 34 points following silver in Montevideo and bronze in Dubai. Belgium and Uganda are third and fourth respectively, both on 28 points followed by Kenya on 24 points and Poland on 22 points who will both be looking to push for a top-four place in Krakow.

The pool draw for the Challenger final round took place at Hong Kong Stadium on Wednesday ahead of the HSBC SVNS 2024 event this weekend and produced some exciting match-ups.

Men’s leaders Uruguay are drawn in Pool A alongside hosts Germany, Georgia and Papua New Guinea. Hong Kong China will be looking to continue the fine form that saw them claim silver in Montevideo and will face Uganda, Tonga and Mexico in Pool B. Meanwhile Kenya, Chile, Portugal and Japan make up a tough looking Pool C.

In the women’s event leaders China will face Thailand, Hong Kong China and Czechia in Pool A. Second placed Argentina are in Pool B together with Uganda, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea. Pool C sees Belgium, Poland, Kenya and Mexico drawn together.

All teams qualified for the Challenger 2024 through their respective regional competitions, while three men’s teams – Kenya, Japan and Uruguay – will showcase their talents on the biggest stage of all at the Olympic Games in Paris where the rugby sevens kicks off on 24 July, 2024.

The Challenger tournaments replicate the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams each. The top two from each pool as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to the third place and gold medal matches.

The Sevens Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby sevens for the short format of the game which has experienced huge growth over the past two decades since the introduction of the global sevens series and becoming an Olympic sport at the Rio 2016 Games.

The 2024 edition of the Challenger competition kicked off with combined men’s and women’s event at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 12-14 January, which was won by Kenya men and China women. The combined second round took place in Montevideo, Uruguay on 8-10 March and the third and final round of the 2024 competition will see standalone women’s and men’s events at Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Krakow, Poland and Dantestadion in Munich, Germany respectively on 18-19 May.

World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “We have seen a really impressive level of rugby sevens in the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 and as we reach the business end of the competition there is more at stake than ever before with the potential for four men’s and four women’s teams to reach the pinnacle HSBC SVNS in 2025 via the new promotion – relegation play off event at the Grand Final in Madrid on 31 May – 02 June.

“With the Olympic Games on the horizon, 2024 is a huge year for rugby sevens, and given the launch of the new HSBC SVNS and the increased number of tournaments and competitiveness in the Sevens Challenger, there has never been a more exciting time for the global growth of the game. I wish the best of luck to all the competing teams in Munich and Krakow in what promises to be a thrilling pair of events.”.