SCOTLAND, Ireland and Wales will have little difficulty in qualifying for next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong. England qualify automatically as winners of the first event, held in Edinburgh, in 1993. The other three home unions are among 64 nations competing at three designated sevens tournaments during the next nine months.

Scotland and Wales' qualification tournament is in Dubai in November. Scotland's pool includes Yugoslavia and Zambia while Wales are opposed by Zimbabwe and Singapore. Ireland go to Lisbon in June when they will face Norway and Hungary.

At both venues there are 24 nations divided into eight groups of three, with the pool winners going through to Hong Kong.

Five countries will qualify from the Punta del Este event in Argentina next January, giving 21 qualifiers to join England, 1993 runners-up Australia and hosts Hong Kong.

Lisbon qualifying tournament (June 1 and 2):

Pool A: Ireland, Norway, Hungary. Pool B: New Zealand, Moldova, Lithuania. Pool C: Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria. Pool D: Korea, Sweden, Croatia. Pool E: Canada, Ukraine, Switzerland. Pool F: Namibia, Georgia, Austria. Pool G: Romania, Poland, Andorra. Pool H: Latvia, Portugal, Luxembourg.

Dubai qualifying tournament (November 21 and 22):

Pool A: Fiji, Russia, Botswana. Pool B: South Africa, Czech Republic, Malaysia. Pool C: Tonga, Kenya, Denmark. Pool D: Wales, Zimbabwe, Singapore. Pool E: Scotland, Yugoslavia, Zambia. Pool F: USA, Cote d'Ivoire, Sri Lanka. Pool G: Italy, Morocco, Thailand. Pool H: Taiwan, Gulf, Tunisia.

Punta del Este qualifying tournament (January 4 and 5, 1997):

Pool A: Western Samoa, Israel, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago. Pool B: Argentina, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Bermuda. Pool C: Japan, Netherlands, Chile, Tahiti. Pool D: France, Uruguay, Bahamas, Cook Island.