The top rugby nations from around the world will be represented in both the men's and women's sevens competitions at next year’s Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The competing nations for both competitions have been announced after all 24 teams accepted formal invites from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to take part.
Women's rugby sevens will make its eagerly anticipated Commonwealth Games debut at Gold Coast 2018, while it will mark the sixth time men's rugby sevens will take place at a Commonwealth Games after its debut at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998.
The men's competition features 16 teams from all six regions, including the top-four ranked nations in the world in South Africa, England, Fiji and New Zealand, along with host nation Australia.
The Jamaican men's team will make their debut after qualifying as the highest ranked team from the Americas, while Zambia has also won the right to take part for the first time alongside fellow African qualifiers Uganda.
Scotland, Canada, Wales, Kenya, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea will also compete.
New Zealand won the first four rugby sevens gold medals from 1998 to 2010 but were beaten in the final by South Africa in Glasgow in 2014.
Eight nations will compete in the women’s competition, headlined by top-ranked New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Fiji.
England, South Africa, Kenya and Wales complete the field.
The pools and match schedules will be announced early in 2018.
CGF President Louise Martin CBE said: "It has been fantastic to witness the growth of rugby sevens since it was first introduced at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998.
"As the leading international sporting body for all gender equality issues, the CGF is proud that, along with GOLDOC, we have been able to introduce women's rugby sevens to the Commonwealth Games for the first time at Gold Coast 2018.
"The introduction of women's rugby sevens for Gold Coast 2018 is a significant milestone in the implementation of the CGF's Gender Equality Strategy, with an equal number of men's and women's medal events being contested for the very first time in Commonwealth Games history."
GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie AC added: "We are excited to have both men's and women's rugby sevens competitions taking centre stage on the Gold Coast 2018 programme, featuring many of the best nations in the world.
"Rugby sevens is renowned for its party-like atmosphere and with a try scored every 70 seconds, we are sure that spectators are going to have a wonderful experience at Robina Stadium over the three days of fantastic competition.
"There are still some tickets available to the rugby sevens preliminaries so we urge people not to miss out on what will be the biggest sporting event in Australia this decade."
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said: "The fast pace and flair of rugby sevens football is a perfect fit for the Gold Coast and I have no doubt both the men's and women's competitions will be favourites at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"Robina Stadium has played host to international rugby sevens tournaments in the past and is the perfect staging ground for three days of world class rugby action."
GOLDOC CEO Mark Peters added: “Rugby sevens will be conducted over the final three days of the Games and in fact the women's and men's gold medal matches hold the honour as being the final medal events at Gold Coast 2018.
"With women's rugby sevens making its debut at the Commonwealth Games, we view this as a fitting way to conclude the Games before we all join together to celebrate the efforts and achievements of all participants at the Closing Ceremony."