New revamped 7s world series
SA sevens captain Kyle Brown (File)
Dublin - The rugby sevens world series has been revamped to give any team a chance of qualifying on the road to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Promotion and relegation will feature at the end of the coming series for the 15 core teams who compete in all nine legs.
The Hong Kong Sevens in March will involve 28 teams, up from 24, in two distinct competitions: The 15 core teams and the Asian series champion will play for the main silverware, while the other 12 - two qualifiers from each region - will compete for berths in the core team qualifier in the last leg in London, in May.
The 20-team London event will also be split in two: The top 12 after the preceding tournament in Glasgow, Scotland, will play for the London title, and the bottom three core teams and the five qualifiers from Hong Kong will compete for three core spots in the 2013-2014 sevens world series.
"As we enter our first four-year Olympic cycle for rugby sevens and build towards Rio 2016, it is important that the opportunity exists for all nations to progress to series core team status if they are good enough," International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We are confident that this new system provides every nation competing in their regional qualifying tournament with a direct chance to gain core team status and compete on every round of the world series."
Canada, Portugal and Spain qualified for core status for the upcoming series, which starts on October 13-14 on Australia's Gold Coast.