The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union
(HKRFU) has unveiled the 24 teams that will compete at the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong
Kong Sevens 2007 (March 30 to April 1 2007). The Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 remains the only IRB Sevens
World Series tournament to host an expanded field of 24 teams and offers additional championship points to the winners, making it the
largest and most competitive tournament on the eight-event circuit.
The 12 core teams on the IRB Sevens World Series will again be battling for the Hong Kong Sevens Cup, led by current series co-leaders
New Zealand, winners of the most recent tournament in George, South Africa and South Africa, winners of the opening tournament on the
2006/07 circuit in Dubai. Defending Hong Kong Sevens champions England, currently tied 2nd on the IRB Sevens World Series table after
making the Cup semi finals in both tournaments played to date, will try to capture their fifth Hong Kong Sevens title in six years. Fiji,
winner of 11 Hong Kong Sevens tournaments and both Rugby World Cups held in Hong Kong in 1997 and 2005, and Rugby World Cup
Sevens (2005) Plate champions Samoa, round out the top five teams on the IRB Sevens World Series championship table participating in
Hong Kong. The other core series teams competing in Hong Kong include France; five-time Hong Kong Sevens champions Australia who
won the Bowl in Dubai, Canada, Argentina, Kenya, Portugal and Scotland.
Teams outside the core IRB Sevens World Series participating in Hong Kong this year include last year’s Hong Kong Sevens Plate
champions Wales, (currently in 7th place on the IRB Sevens World Series table after winning the Shield at the Dubai Sevens and the Plate
in George), Russia and the United States, both of whom have yet to participate on the IRB Sevens series in 2006/2007, Tonga and 2005
Rugby World Cup Sevens Bowl champions Italy.
Tunisia will be returning to Hong Kong after promising performances to date on the circuit, especially in George, where the Tunisians
reached the Plate final, losing to Wales 5 – 26. As well as making the plate final in South Africa, Tunisia has recorded victories over
Argentina, Samoa, Australia and Scotland (all core teams) during the first two World Series events.
These teams will be joined by the traditional complement of Asian rugby nations in Hong Kong including Japan and Korea, gold and silver
medalists at the rugby sevens competition of the 15th Asian Games in Doha in December 2006. These two perennial Asian challengers
finished the final match in Doha with the smallest winning margin in Asian Games sevens history with Japan eking out gold after a 27 – 26
victory. Other Asian teams entering the fray are China and Chinese Taipei. China pipped Chinese Taipei 19 – 12 to win the Bronze medal in
Doha. Chinese Taipei finished fourth overall at the Asian Games, setting a competition record along the way for the biggest winning
margin in Asian Games sevens history, beating Qatar 82 – nil.
Hosts Hong Kong finished in fifth place at the Asian Games, edging fellow Hong Kong Sevens 2007 challenger Sri Lanka, into 6th overall
in Doha after winning their head to head match 35 – 5. Taken together, the Asian teams represent fully 25% of all participating nations at
the Hong Kong Sevens 2007, continuing the tournament’s role as a seminal event for the continued development of Asian rugby.
"We are very excited to welcome all of the teams to the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007. With this being a world cup
year, it is fantastic to have the majority of the world’s top rugby nations from both the northern and southern hemisphere participating,"
said HKRFU Executive Director, Allan Payne.
"We are always happy to see the leading rugby nations return, but the HKRFU are particularly pleased that we have been able to maintain
the number of teams from Asia in 2007. The Hong Kong Sevens has been instrumental in the development of rugby in Asia in the past 30
years, and we are delighted that we can continue to provide an international stage for Asian rugby nations to compete on,"
Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 Competing Teams:
Argentina, Hong Kong,
Samoa, Australia, Italy, Scotland, Canada, Japan, South
Africa, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka,
Chinese Taipei, Korea, Tonga, England, New Zealand, Tunisia,
Fiji, Portugal, USA, France, Russia, and Wales.
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