Counting down to National Sevens 2013

Getty Images     22 Dec 2012     Getty Images

Twenty two teams will compete in the revamped National Sevens tournament in Queenstown on 12 and 13 January 2013 with women competing for the first time in 10 years.

Sixteen men's and six women's provincial sevens teams have qualified to compete in the annual national tournament following three regional tournaments (Southern, Central and Northern regions) held in November and December.

New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said the emphasis on striving for gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, had generated a lot of interest from women in the sevens game.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the women's teams with real competition for spots in the New Zealand Women's Sevens side. We know that these sevens tournaments are very popular family events, so it's great to see so many more women having a go at rugby," he said.

Both All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens and New Zealand Women's Sevens Coach Sean Horan will attend the tournament.

It will be the tenth year Queenstown has hosted the event with matches to be played at the Queenstown Recreational Ground and Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown.

"This is a remarkable achievement, and thanks to the efforts of the Sevens with Altitude organising committee, they have developed this tournament into a strong, competitive and popular event on the rugby calendar," Sorensen said.

The tournament moves to Rotorua for 2014 and 2015.

The Webb Ellis Cup will be on display at the tournament along with the Bledisloe Cup, and Investec Rugby Championship trophy.

The teams competing in the tournament are:

Men's: Northland, North Harbour, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wairarapa Bush, Wellington, Tasman, Canterbury, South Canterbury, Otago, Southland.

Women's: Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Tasman, Canterbury

The tournament will be broadcast live on SKY Sport 1, with the first match kicking off on Saturday 12 January, at 10:30am.

To view a copy of the National Sevens draw please click here.