The pools for the Borneo Sevens, the second
event on the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series, were drawn in
Malaysia on Wednesday.
The Borneo Sevens will be played this
weekend at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
The seeding for the Borneo Sevens is based on the results of last
Shanghai Sevens and features 12 premier
Asian teams drawn into three pools of four teams each.
Korea, the winners of the Shanghai Sevens, the
inaugural event on the new HSBC Asian Sevens Series (HSBC A7S),
are the top seeds for Borneo in Pool A.
Hong Kong, defending
Borneo champions and beaten Cup finalists in Shanghai, are seeded
at the top of Pool B.
Japan, the third-ranked team on this year’s
HSBC Asian Sevens Series, tops Pool C.
The second seeds in each
pool were drawn from
Kazakhstan, surprise fourth-place finishers
in Shanghai; China, Plate champions at their home event; and
Malaysia, losing Plate finalists in Shanghai.
The third seeds
in each pool were drawn from Philippines, Thailand and Chinese
Taipei, the seventh, eighth and ninth overall finishers in
The fourth seeds in each pool were drawn from the United
Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Brunei, making its debut on the HSBC
Asian Sevens Series
Each team will play a round-robin
competition within their pools on day one in Borneo. Day two will
see straight knock-out matches to determine the final rankings for
the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011. The top finishing teams will be
in a strong position to qualify for invitation to the
Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in March 2012.
“The Borneo Sevens is the final ranking event in this year's HSBC
Asian Sevens Series, so the stakes are high this weekend and we
can expect exciting clashes between the best national teams from
across the region,” said Mukhtar Hussain,
CEO HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and Global CEO HSBC Amanah. “The
HSBC Asian Sevens Series was designed for Asia's top teams to help
develop their potential through regular international competition.
This sponsorship is a key part of the bank's commitment to helping
the growth of the sport across Asia, both in terms of
participation and spectators, as the rugby world builds towards
its inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.”
While Korea remain the undisputed champions of the
Shanghai Sevens, winning three consecutive titles including last
month’s sudden-death win over Hong Kong in the Cup final, Japan
and Hong Kong have been the dominant teams in Borneo over the past
Japan won the inaugural tournament played in 2009,
beating Hong Kong in the final. Last year, Hong Kong earned its
revenge, pipping the Japanese 31-28 in a rain-sodden final. En
route to last year’s Cup final, Hong Kong demolished Korea 43-0 in
the semi- finals. It is a performance that the defending champions
will be hoping to repeat after the bitter disappointment of their
extra-time loss to Korea in Shanghai.
Hong Kong look on song
again although injuries have forced towering prop forward Pale
Tauti out of the side for Borneo. Tauti is replaced by flanker
Nick Hewson, on his sevens debut after figuring prominently in
Hong Kong’s successful HSBC Asian Five Nations 2011 campaign.
Joining Hewson as a new addition to the side for Borneo is Tim
Alexander, an experienced seven aside player who featured in last year’s Asian Sevens series and the Hong Kong Sevens. Alexander
replaces Peter McKee from the squad in Shanghai.
National Coach of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, said, “We made a good start in Shanghai
but we failed to complete the job in the final with some poor
decision-making when we were up 17-5 in the closing minutes
against Korea. The team knows we are capable of winning in Borneo
but only if we are focused and work hard for the duration of the
tournament and in every game. A win will give us the top spot on
the HSBC Asian Sevens Series so there is everything to play for.”
After a credible performance at the Shanghai Sevens, where
Malaysia reached the Plate final after dropping a narrow 10-17
loss to Asian rugby heavyweights Japan in the Cup quarterfinal,
the hosts will be intent on moving up the final rankings. Last
year Malaysia finished fifth overall on the Series to qualify for
the Hong Kong Sevens for the first time since 2003. Malaysia
currently lies in sixth place on the HSBC Asian Sevens Series
Running alongside the men’s competition, the Borneo
Sevens will feature a combined Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) – Federation of Oceania Rugby Union (FORU) women’s sevens tournament
and a Malaysian Schools Sevens tournament. The women’s tournament
will begin on Friday, 23 September 2011.
Asian Sevens Series will take a hiatus after Borneo for the
duration of the
Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. HSBC Asian
Sevens Series action will resume in November with the final two
events of the Series in Goa, India and Bangkok, Thailand.
HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011
27-28 August - Shanghai
Sevens, Yuanshen Stadium, Shanghai, China
24-25 September - Borneo
Sevens, Likas Stadium, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
November - Thailand Sevens, Bangkok
19-20 November - India Sevens, Goa
Borneo – Men’s teams: Brunei, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong
Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, United Arab Emirates.
ARFU-FORU Women’s Sevens
teams: China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore (ARFU); Cook Islands,
Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga (FORU).
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