By Paul Osborne at SkyPoint in Surfers Paradise

Captains line up at Gold Coasts highest residential skyrise, Q1, ahead of the Gold Coast Sevens ©ITGThe rugby sevens road to Rio 2016 gets underway in the Gold Coast this weekend as 16 teams fight for the first set of all-important World Series ranking points and the opportunity to compete in the sport's first appearance at the Olympics for 92 years.

As the first of nine HSBC World Sevens Series legs, the Gold Coast Sevens will set the tone for the 2014-2015 season where the top four finishers over the course of the year will automatically qualify for Rio 2016.

A further six places will be determined by regional qualifiers next year with a further place available via a play-off event to close the process, while Brazil automatically qualify as hosts.

Ahead of this weekend's opening leg, International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has described the beginning of qualification for rugby sevens' debut at the Olympic Games as an historic moment for the sport.

"The beginning of the global qualification process represents an historic milestone for the Rugby family as we look forward to rugby sevens' Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016," he said.

"The world's top sevens players are honoured and excited to have the opportunity to make history and become the first men and women in 92 years to represent rugby at an Olympic Games.

"Such excitement will be very evident in the Gold Coast this weekend as the road to Rio kicks off in earnest with the first of round of what promises to be a very competitive and compelling series."

The world's best rugby sevens teams will not only be battling to get their hands on the HSBC World Sevens Series trophy this year, but also a berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©ITGThe world's best rugby sevens teams will not only be battling to get their hands on the HSBC World Sevens Series trophy this year, but also a berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©ITG

The women's qualification process begins in Dubai in December with the first of six IRB Women's Sevens World Series events that will deliver four teams.

As with the men's process, a further six places will be determined by regional qualifiers, another via the play-off and Brazil's women automatically qualify.

Lapasset added: "This milestone caps another stellar year for Sevens, with our Youth Olympic Games debut, a 171,000 world-record attendance over two days at an electric Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games event and yet more record attendance and broadcast figures for the HSBC Sevens World Series."

The Gold Coast Sevens are due to get underway at the Robina Stadium,also known as the Cbus Super Stadium, on Saturday (October 11) with action concluding the following day.

The tournament includes all 15 core sevens sides with the addition of American Samoa, who make their first appearance at a World Series tournament.

Captain's of all 16 teams met at SkyPoint in Gold Coast's tallest building, Q1 today, for a photo call ahead of action on Saturday.

Speaking at the event, captain of defending champions New Zealand, DJ Fobes expressed his excited for this new, and hugely important, season.

"We're very excited to get started and we're here, like everyone else to start with a bang," he said.

"Everyone knows how important it is going to be with so much at stake.

"There is nothing in it between ourselves and six or seven other countries so it comes down to consistency at each round.

"The Olympics is at the back of our mind, but we know we need to tick the boxes along the way and the Gold Coast is that first step and hopefully we can get our season off to strong start this weekend."

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