On Friday and Saturday, at the famous Carrasco Polo Club in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, seven nations will contest the Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino.
Brazil, the dominant women's team in the region, will be joined by hosts Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Peru in the round robin tournament with the winner to represent the region at RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco next July.
The Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino was first held in 2004 and Brazil have claimed the title every year since then bar 2015, when they did not play and Colombia triumphed to book their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
With Colombia and Venezuela not present at this years competition, Argentina are expected to lead the chase to dethrone the champions. But Brazil captain Luiza Campos insists they are not going to give up their title without a fight.
Prizes at stake
We are in the middle of the Brazilian Sevens Circuit so we are match ready, insisted Campos, who is joined by Baby Futuro and Paula Ishibashi, veterans of every Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino tournament Brazil have played.
Not only that, we have two daily training sessions plus fitness work at the rugby academy in Sao Paulo.
I imagine it will be a tough tournament, but we are ready and wanting to win.
Brazil lost their place as a core team on the HSBC World Rugby Womens Sevens Series in June and under the tutelage of coach Reuben Samuel they have been working hard for over two months.
Victory in Montevideo will not only secure Brazils place at RWC Sevens, but also as the invitational team at the Canadian round of the 2018 World Series and at the 2019 series qualifier in Hong Kong.
The runner-up in the Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino will also qualify for the Hong Kong event from which one team will secure core status for the HSBC World Rugby Womens Sevens Series in 2019.
Historic dream for Argentina
Las Pumas are slowly closing the gap to Brazil and are hoping the hard work they have put in since losing to them 35-12 in the Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino final on home soil in Córdoba back in January will pay dividends.
Weve grown a lot as a team in the last year. We worked very hard on our defence, which was our weakness and we are stronger for that, insisted vice-captain Mayra Genghini.
We have been close, but not close enough. Beating them would be historic, and would also fulfil any sportspersons dream to play in a World Cup.
The Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Femenino takes place within the 24th Valentín Martínez Rugby Festival, organised by the Carrasco Polo Club and featuring 201 teams (boys and girls) of different age groups from 73 clubs.
Some 5,400 players 2,800 of them based locally will be involved in the Festival. A field hockey tournament will also be held, featuring 136 teams and 2,400 female players.
Photo credit: Marcela Canciani / UAR
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