HSBC and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU)
have unveiled the schedule for the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2012
With Asia’s three spots for men’s teams at the Rugby
World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow at stake, the action promises to be fierce in 2012.
With so much at stake, the number of core teams,
(those participating in every event of this year’s Series) has
more than doubled from four teams in 2011 to 10 this year. The
core teams on the HSBC A7s 2012 are China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri
Lanka and Thailand.
As in 2011, the HSBC A7s 2012 will
feature four tournaments. Reflecting the strong interest in sevens
rugby across Asia, the 2012 HSBC A7s sees a growth in ranking
tournaments from two in 2011 to three this season with the
addition of a ranking tournament in India.
opens in September with the return of the well-established Borneo
(31 August - 2 September) and Shanghai Sevens tournaments.
For a third
consecutive year, Borneo will showcase premier international
women’s sevens alongside the men’s competition with the innovative
Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens pitting premier women’s sevens nations
from the Pacific Islands against Asia’s top teams.
Borneo, the HSBC A7s rolls into China for the popular Shanghai
Sevens at the Yuanshen Stadium in Pudong, Shanghai (22-23 September).
The long-running Shanghai and Borneo Sevens fixtures both retain
their ranking status for 2012.
India, which held a
non-ranking event last year in Goa, hosts the third event on this
year’s Series and will enjoy ranking status in 2012. The event
also moves to the financial capital Mumbai at the prestigious
Bombay Gymkhana (13-14 October). The Mumbai Sevens has attracted 16
teams to date, including Afghanistan, which will mark its first
appearance on the HSBC Asian Sevens Series. The field makes the
Mumbai Sevens 2012 the largest HSBC Asian Sevens Series tournament to date.
Adding to the excitement and competitiveness of
the HSBC A7s, this year’s Series culminates with an inaugural
event in Singapore. The Singapore Sevens will also double as the
International Rugby Board’s Asian qualifier for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next year. In another first, ARFU is proud to
announce that the HSBC A7s’ Singapore Sevens will be played as
part of the renowned Singapore Cricket Club Sevens, which marks
its 65th year in 2012 (2-4 November).
The rankings from the
Borneo, Shanghai and Mumbai events will determine the seeding for
the Singapore Sevens and Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifier. The top
three finalists from the HSBC A7s’ Singapore Sevens will qualify
for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow.
onset of our partnership with HSBC to develop Asian rugby in 2008, ARFU is pleased to have seen strong growth in the interest in and
playing of rugby in all forms, but especially sevens. With the
expansion of this year’s Series to three ranking events with new
tournaments in Mumbai and Singapore this interest is set to reach
new heights in 2012,” said ARFU President, Adisek Hemyoo. “The HSBC Asian Sevens Series
provides a platform for the continued development of the game at
all levels from elite men’s and women’s competition to the
grassroots efforts backed by HSBC across the region since 2008. We
thank HSBC for their outstanding support to the growth of the game
and look forward to another outstanding series in 2012.”
Last year’s Series results saw Japan finish as
Asia’s number one, followed by Hong Kong in second and a three-way
tie for third between China, Philippines and Korea. Based on their
results, Japan, Hong Kong, China and the Philippines gained entry
to the world-famous Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Each tournament will host a leg of the HSBC ARFU Coaching Tour, a
compelling grassroots-rugby initiative co-sponsored by HSBC and
ARFU. With a target to reach 12,000 youth in 2012, the HSBC ARFU
Coaching Tour has already engaged over 5,000 youth across eight
countries and territories since April, most of them with little or
no experience of rugby.
Mr Jarrad Gallagher, Regional
General Manager for Asia of the IRB, commented on the 2012 series
saying, “Using the results of the three ranking events as the seedings for the Rugby World Cup Sevens Asian qualifiers in
Singapore will ensure another highly competitive HSBC Asian Sevens
Series. Three spots are up for grabs for Asian teams in Moscow,
which provides great incentive for all of the teams across the
Series ... With the advent of Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport at the next Games in Brazil, the future of the HSBC Asian
Sevens Series looks bright indeed. This future would simply not
have been possible without the strong support of HSBC or rugby
across the region.”
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