Australia, Fiji, Russia and France (pictured) have become the latest women’s teams to qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.
By virtue of their final positions at the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which finished in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday, the four sides will take part in the event next July.
All four semi-finalists from RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow (New Zealand, Canada, Spain and USA) qualified automatically for the 2018 edition of the tournament. Under the agreed qualification process, the top four teams outside of those four at the 2016-17 series, can progress to San Francisco.
The remaining eight nations in the 16-team women’s tournament will be decided by virtue of regional qualifying tournaments in Europe (two teams), Africa (one team), North America (one team), South America (one team), Asia (two teams) and Oceania (one team).
Kenya Lionesses will head to Tunisia in September where they will take on the likes of South Africa with the winner set to get the sole ticket.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Congratulations to Australia, Fiji, Russia and France for securing their place at RWC Sevens next year.
"The quality we saw in Clermont was a reminder of what great rugby will be on display in AT&T Park in July 2018. Being staged in the vibrant and diverse city of San Francisco, Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is going to take the tournament to new heights as the standard of men’s and women’s sevens continues to amaze.”
Having won both the men's and women's events in 2013, New Zealand will be back to defend their titles but will likely face considerable resistance in the form of Olympic gold medallists, Australia (women's) and Fiji (men's), not to mention strong home competition from both USA sides.