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Guyana and Philippines to Compete in Hong Kong Sevens 2012

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Two teams will make their debut at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2012, Guyana and the Philippines.

 The two nations become the 50th and 51st countries to compete at the Hong Kong Sevens in the 37 years since its inception, (including the two IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens events hosted in Hong Kong in 1997 and 2005).

Invited by the International Rugby Board (IRB) to compete in Hong Kong, Guyana were the winners of the North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens championships last November.

The Philippines becomes the 13th Asian team to take part in Hong Kong, qualifying as the fourth place finisher in the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series in 2011. The Hong Kong leg marks the Philippines Rugby Football Unionís first ever participation in an HSBC Sevens World Series event.

The 12 core teams on the HSBC Sevens World Series will again feature at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens: Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.

This yearís HSBC Sevens World Series is proving to be among the most competitive ever with three teams winning the three tournaments played to date. Defending Hong Kong champions New Zealand won the South Africa Sevens and are currently tied with Fiji, winners in Australia, at the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series table on 51 points. South Africa are in third place on 48 points, followed by Dubai Sevens champions England in fourth on 47 points. France lies in fifth place on 39 points.

Reinforcing Hong Kongís unique position as the largest and one of the most popular HSBC Sevens World Series events, the remaining 12 competing teams hail from all over the world. Portugal, Russia and Spain bolster the tournamentís European contingent while Zimbabwe adds to the African presence and Tonga rounds out the tournamentís traditionally strong Pacific Islands representation. Canada and Uruguay will also return from the Americas.

Closer to home, the Hong Kong Sevens continues its role as the showcase event for Asian rugby with the regionís top four sevens teams completing the field in 2012. These teams are Japan, champions of the 2011 HSBC Asian Sevens Series, runners-up Hong Kong, third-ranked China and the Philippines. With 24 teams, Hong Kong remains the largest event on the international series (other events host 16 teams).

On 14 January 2012 the final 4,000 event tickets were sold to members of the Hong Kong public marking another sell-out for the Hong Kong Sevens.

 The Official Tournament Draw will be held in Hong Kong on 16 February 2012 after the completion of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas (10-12 February).

The Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012 expects to welcome a total of 120,000 spectators over the three day-event which will take place 23-25 March.

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