The countdown to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 is well and truly on as Cape Town Stadium prepares to welcome the best teams on the planet to South Africa on 9 September.
Before the tournament can get underway, though, the full line-up of nations taking part in the shadow of Table Mountain needs to be finalised.
We now know the identity of 12 women’s and 20 men’s teams that will compete for RWC Sevens 2022 glory, but how will the remaining nine spots be filled?
Below we run through each of the qualification tournaments being held between now and kick-off in Cape Town, to give you all the information you need.
Rugby Americas North Sevens Qualifiers (23-24 April)
Canada’s men and women both emerged victorious at the Rugby Americas North Sevens Qualifiers in the Bahamas to book their place at RWC Sevens 2022 alongside men’s finalists Jamaica.
The Canadian women did not concede a single point as they beat Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to top their pool.
Jack Hanratty’s side faced Mexico again in the final and tries from Keyara Wardley, Bianca Farella and Asia Hogan Rochester gave them a 19-0 lead at half-time.
Having withstood some Mexican pressure early in the second half, Canada made sure of victory – and their place in Cape Town – with tries from Elisa Alarie and Nakisa Levale.
Canada’s men also made it through the pool stage at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau unbeaten before a 38-14 defeat of Barbados in the quarter-finals left them one win away from Cape Town.
Two Elias Ergas tries then helped them to a 41-0 win against Mexico in the semi-finals, and with two RWC Sevens 2022 places on offer in the men’s tournament, that was enough to earn qualification.
Jamaica will join them in South Africa after they beat the Cayman Islands 22-14 in the last eight and then secured a 24-5 semi-final victory against Bermuda.
Although both teams were assured of their passage to Cape Town, it was Canada who won the tournament. Another brace from Ergas in the Cup final helped his side to a 29-12 victory.
Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens (23-24 April)
Uganda won the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens on home soil to book their ticket to Cape Town, where they will be joined by beaten finalists Zimbabwe and third-place play-off winners Kenya.
Defending champions Kenya made it through day one in Kampala undefeated, beating Zimbabwe along the way, as they looked in good shape to retain their title.
However, a surprise 12-7 loss against Madagascar in their final pool match set up a Cup semi-final against the hosts.
It was Uganda – who won the tournament the last time it was played in Kampala – who emerged victorious 22-12 to set up a final against Zimbabwe, who beat Zambia in the other semi-final.
With both teams assured of qualification for RWC Sevens 2022, Uganda proved too strong for Zimbabwe, winning the final 26-0 to secure their first Africa Men’s Sevens title since 2017.
Kenya made sure of their progress to a sixth successive RWC Sevens 2022 as they beat Zambia 19-12 in the third-place play-off.
Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens (29-30 April)
Madagascar suffered final heartbreak at the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens in Tunisia but despite losing 15-14 to South Africa in the showpiece match they did enough to claim their place at RWC Sevens 2022.
South Africa had already qualified for Cape Town as hosts, meaning that Madagascar were sure to join them as soon as they beat Uganda 17-12 in the semi-finals.
The Ladies Makis were seeded seventh ahead of the tournament in Jemmal and edged past the fifth-ranked hosts 7-5 in their opening match to maintain their qualification hopes.
Madagascar then beat Ghana 29-5 to set up a quarter-final against Zambia and the Ladies Makis again came out on top, 14-10.
South Africa had reached the semi-finals without conceding a point and they kept another clean sheet to beat Tunisia 31-0 to take their place in the final.
That result meant Madagascar and Uganda were each one win from Cape Town, but it was the Ladies Makis who edged a tight contest.
In the final, Madagascar built a 14-5 half-time lead to put themselves within seven minutes of a memorable win and the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens title.
They were unable to hold on, though, as Lusanda Dumke and Eloise Webb scored unconverted tries to seal a South African victory.
Meanwhile, details of the dedicated qualification event to confirm the four men’s and four women’s teams in Europe will be announced in due course.