Moscow hosts the European Rugby Sevens Championship this weekend at Luzhniki stadium, marking the countdown to next year when the city will host the Rugby Sevens World Championship.
Sixteen womens’ teams and 12 mens’ will take part in the competition, including teams from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Wales and Ukraine.
The championship will also be a qualifying event for the womens’ teams for the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Championship, International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset said.
Russia has a guaranteed place as it is hosting the 2013 event.
Other womens’ teams who have qualified are Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
The 2013 event will be the last World Championship before the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, when rugby will return as an Olympic event for the first time since the 1920s.