China women and Uruguay men win World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024

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Four men’s and women’s teams qualify for the highly anticipated HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final and Play Off in Madrid on 31 May – 2 June.

  • China women and Uruguay men crowned World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 Champions with final round victories in Krakow and Munich respectively
  • Top four placed men’s and women’s teams qualify for HSBC SVNS promotion and relegation play-off competition in Madrid on 31 May – 2 June, pools confirmed
  • Argentina, Belgium and Poland join China in women’s HSBC SVNS play-offs while Uruguay, Chile, Kenya and Germany qualify for men’s competition
  • Attention turns to the highly anticipated HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final and Play Off in Madrid, tickets available from svns.com

An exhilarating day of international rugby sevens ended with China women and Uruguay men crowned World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 Champions following victories in the third and final rounds in Krakow, Poland and Munich, Germany respectively.

There was high drama and emotion on and off the pitch as teams fought to secure a top-four place in the standings that secured their participation at the new HSBC SVNS Play Off promotion and relegation competition in Madrid on 31 May – 2 June.

VIEW STANDINGS >>

Uruguay won the final round of the men’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 in Munich as well as the overall series title and will now go to Madrid for the HSBC SVNS Play-Off in Madrid, together with fellow qualifiers Kenya, Chile and Germany.

Los Teros Sevens were the dominant team throughout the three-tournament Challenger series, backing up their win on home soil in Montevideo in March with their second title of the year to finish top of the standings on 56 points.

Uruguay is the Sevens Challenger Champion on day two of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger at Dante Stadium on 19 May, 2024 in Munich, Germany. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Uruguay beat Germany 21-19 in a pulsating final, while Hong Kong China, who just missed out on the top four, had the consolation of the bronze medal in Munich.

Kenya failed to make the semi-finals on this occasion but a fifth-place finish was enough for them to finish as runners-up to Uruguay in the final standings.

The pools for the HSBC SVNS Play Off in Madrid see Uruguay and Germany face the USA and Canada in Pool A, while Kenya and Chile join Spain and Samoa in Pool B.

Uruguay captain Diego Ardao said: “I feel very proud of the team, of our staff, and of our friends that stayed at home but were in the team. We trained very hard. We worked for it and we achieved our goals, that was being champions here and achieving qualification for Madrid. So I’m extremely happy and mostly as I said, I’m very proud of the team.

“Our first aim was to be in Madrid. Now that we are in Madrid, we want to be in those play off finals with whatever team is opposite us, and we need that victory. We need to win that game, so that we can go again in the sevens series. It would be confirmation that we are a great nation in rugby. We had already been there last year. It was a pity that we had to be relegated, but those were the rules and as I said, we need to confirm that we are a great nation of rugby, so we want to be there in the SVNS again.”

Kenya’s Vincent Onyala said: “We are definitely happy, because with beating Uganda now, we have sealed our top four. Now we just wait to see what Madrid has for us. Hopefully we’ll get there and build on our little moments then see ourselves back in the HSBC SVNS Series.”

“It will be big. Our programme will grow. The boys that are coming in will experience what it means to play with the best and we’ll build on from there.”

Germany’s Makonnen Amekuedi said: “Qualifying for Madrid is all we’ve been working for these last few months, since September. Everybody worked hard, it was a team effort and we deserved it.”

China completed their near-perfect women’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 campaign, beating hosts Poland 36-0 in the Krakow final to claim a third successive tournament victory.

The Chinese had secured their place in the HSBC SVNS Play-off tournament by qualifying for the quarter-finals at the end of day one, and they will be joined in Madrid by Argentina, Belgium and Poland.

A large section of those inside Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium for Sunday’s final hoped they would see a home title, but China showed once again why they have been the form team of the 2024 Challenger.

China had lost only one of their 17 matches in Dubai, Montevideo and Krakow ahead of the showpiece match

Despite their final loss, second place was enough to lift Poland into fourth place in the overall standings, ensuring they will travel to Madrid in a fortnight.

Due to their significantly inferior points difference compared to Poland, Kenya needed to win the bronze final in Krakow with a big score to have any hope of claiming the final ticket to Madrid.

However Belgium were determined to claim a second successive bronze medal and overcame Kenya by a 26-7 scoreline.

The pools for the HSBC SVNS Play Offs in Madrid are confirmed as China and Poland together with Japan and Spain in Pool A, while Argentina and Belgium will face Brazil and South Africa in Pool B.

READ FULL WOMEN’S REPORT >>

China Assistant Coach Rocky Khan said: “It’s an amazing feeling. The girls have been awesome throughout the whole series. Even training sessions back home every day they put a lot of effort in. They want to work hard and they want to get better.

“I am just so proud of how they have performed over the three tournaments and even to pull form here this weekend and to win the Challenger series is amazing and going to Madrid is a massive opportunity and hopefully we can make a good shot of it. I’m just so proud and we will enjoy the moment for now.”

GORDON TIETJENS PREDICTS BRIGHT FUTURE FOR CHINA >>

Argentina player Mayra Genghini on qualifying for Madrid said: “We were training since October to qualify for Madrid and this was a dream of ours. And we are very happy to achieve this.”

Belgium’s Cécile Blondiau said: “It’s really exciting to be going to Madrid and we are happy to show the world that we can play rugby and women can play rugby in Belgium too. We are really excited about this event (Madrid), it was our goal this year, so I am just so happy for the team and for the work the girls have done at home and we just can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

VIEW ALL SCORES >>

There was more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger with the competition expanded to three rounds and the top four placed men’s and women’s teams in with a chance of gaining promotion to HSBC SVNS 2025 via the new play off tournament.

The 2024 HSBC SVNS season will reach a dramatic conclusion in Madrid as the top eight teams play in a ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final to become SVNS Champions, while the bottom four HSBC SVNS teams will play-off against the top four teams from the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger to qualify for the 2025 HSBC SVNS series. See the explainer video for more detail.

VIEW MADRID EXPLAINER VIDEO >>

World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “The quality, talent, drama and excitement on show today was a great demonstration of the continuing growth and evolution of rugby sevens around the globe.

“The new competition model meant there was more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger, with four men’s and four women’s teams having the opportunity to gain promotion to HSBC SVNS 2025 through the new promotion and relegation tournament in Madrid, and it certainly created some thrilling moments on and off the pitch this weekend.

“Congratulations to China and Uruguay on becoming champions and to all the teams that have qualified for the HSBC SVNS Play Off in Madrid and given themselves an opportunity to join the top level of international rugby sevens competition next year.

“Our thanks and gratitude to all of our hosts in Dubai, Montevideo, Munich and Krakow, our title partners HSBC and all the participating teams for making the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 such an exciting spectacle from start to finish.”

The 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 bigger and better than ever 2024 edition of the Sevens Challenger 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 where the hosts won the men’s event and China claimed the women’s title. The third and final round saw 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.

Fans around the globe can watch HSBC SVNS action on rugbypass.tv where there is no domestic broadcaster.

For tickets and further information on the HSBC SVNS Grand Final and Play Off in Madrid on 31 May to 2 June visit www.svns.com

Credit: World Rugby

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