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[See also: Fixtures and Results from the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens 2011] There are just hours to go until the 2011 Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens, regarded by many as the greatest Rugby Sevens party on earth, kicks-off!

Three teams have won a Series event to date as we enter the halfway mark in Hong Kong. England opened its account in Dubai, while New Zealand won in George, South Africa and Wellington, New Zealand. South Africa has the most recent victory, winning the Las Vegas Sevens.

The results see nine-time Hong Kong Sevens champions New Zealand and four-time champions England level on points at the top of the series with 80. Fiji, (who hold the record with 12 wins in Hong Kong including both Rugby World Cup Sevens), and defending Hong Kong Sevens champions Samoa are tied-third with 64 points, followed by South Africa on 56. Australia lies in sixth position with 36.

South Africa’s Cecil Afrika currently tops both the leading points and try-scorers lists for the Series to date with 181 points and 22 tries. Fiji’s Seremaia Boruto and New Zealand’s Declan O’Donnel are each on 20 tries.

Last year’s Hong Kong Sevens was one of the most fiercely contested in recent memory as all four of the previous Hong Kong champions (England, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa) reached the Cup semi-finals, where Samoa eventually ran out champions by a 3-point margin in the Cup final. The win helped propel Samoa to its first ever World Sevens Series title.

The parity on the series makes a win in Hong Kong even more important to the teams. As the only 24-team event on the IRB World Sevens Series Hong Kong offers 30 series points to the cup champions as compared to the 24 awarded at 16 team events. The US$100,000 prize purse for the Cup champions will only add to the intensity of the matches this weekend at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Invited by the International Rugby Board to compete in Hong Kong, Mexico will become the 49th country to compete at the Hong Kong Sevens in the 35 years since the inception of the event. The Hong Kong leg will be Mexico Sevens’ only participation on the IRB World Sevens Series 2010/2011.

“With teams from every populated continent the Hong Kong Sevens continues to raise the level and profile of our game across the globe, and in doing so making the Hong Kong tournament a particularly special international event,” said HKRFU Chairman Trevor Gregory.

Over 120,000 spectators are expected across the three-day tournament to be held from Friday, 25 March to Sunday, 27 March 2011, at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Matches start at 16.30 on Friday, 10.30 on Saturday and 9.00am on Sunday.

See also: HD Videos from the 2010 Hong Kong Sevens and coverage from the 2011 event.

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