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Hong Kong Sevens 2011 Official Draw; England in Pool B against China, Japan and USA

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The Official Draw for the Cathay Pacific / Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens was held Thursday evening (17 February 2011) at Exchange Square in Hong Kong.

This year’s IRB Sevens World Series has seen three different champions in the four events played to date. England opened their account with a win in Dubai, followed by New Zealand who won in both George, South Africa and at home in Wellington. South Africa is the most recent champion having taken out the Cup from the Las Vegas Sevens after beating Fiji, which reached its first Cup final of the series last weekend in the USA.

 As the only 24-team event on the circuit, the results of the draw - and the 30 series points that go to the Cup champions in Hong Kong - could be the crucial factor in determining the Series champions in 2011.

Currently, New Zealand and England share pride of place on the IRB World Sevens Series table on 80 points each. Fiji and defending Hong Kong and Series champions Samoa are joint 3rd on 64 points while South Africa has put itself back into the mix after Las Vegas and currently lies in 5th place with 56 points.

Added to the increased points on offer and the growing parity of the IRB World Sevens Series is the fact that Hong Kong offers the largest prize purse in international sevens (US$150,000), setting the stage for another frenetic weekend of fast action, furious tackling and the festival atmosphere that makes the Hong Kong Sevens a legendary event in world rugby and Asia’s top annual sporting event.

For the draw the 12 core teams participating on the IRB Sevens World Series were seeded based upon their Series points accumulated in the most recent two tournaments in the IRB Sevens World Series – Wellington and Las Vegas: where teams are tied they are ranked on their overall performances to date in the current IRB Sevens World Series. The remaining participating teams have been seeded or placed in the draw based on performances in IRB Sevens World Series and other IRB regional tournaments. All seedings have been ratified by the IRB.

Series co-leader New Zealand is the top seeded team in Pool A. New Zealand will face France, Portugal and Korea.

Series co-leader England is the tournament’s second overall seed in Pool B, where they will be matched up against USA, Japan and China.

In Pool C, defending Hong Kong Sevens champions Samoa are matched against Scotland, Tonga and Mexico.

Pool D sees Fiji matched against Kenya who lie in 9th place overall on the Series table. Russia and Malaysia complete the pool.

Pool E sees South Africa and Wales alongside Hong Kong and Spain.

Traditionally one of the most evenly matched and exciting pools due to the seeding structure of the Hong Kong Sevens, Pool F features Australia as the 6th seed alongside 7th seed Argentina. Canada and Zimbabwe join the pool.

The Cathay Pacific / Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens will be played from 25 to 27 March 2011 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium.

See also: HD Videos from the 2010 Hong Kong Sevens

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