The IRB will add three more full-time teams to the 2012-13 Sevens World Series.
The IRB confirmed on Tuesday that this initiative is set to grow sevens rugby’s support group ahead of the code’s Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games. The number of teams that will take part in each event in the World Series will increase from the so-called 12 ‘core’ sides to 15.
This will see the Hong Kong Sevens (March 23-25) double up as a qualification tournament to determine the three new teams competing in all events in the 2012-13 campaign.
‘As we build towards Rio 2016 and our Olympic Games debut, it is important that opportunities exist for all nations to progress to series core team status if they are good enough,’ said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.