The Official Draw for the
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012 was held last week
at Exchange Square in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, the Hong Kong Rugby Football
Union (HKRFU) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) unveiled a
new format for the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens, with Hong
Kong being awarded a unique status as the venue for the world’s
first HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier.
As such, this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong
Kong Sevens will host two unique competitions side by side. The
HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) event will feature the 12 core
teams currently competing on the Series.
A separate HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier
will also comprise 12 teams, including regional champions from all
six rugby regions recognized by the IRB. In the HSBC SWS
Qualifier, Hong Kong, together with 11 other teams will be playing
for the right to become a core team. The three countries finishing
in the top three positions from the Qualification tournament will
be granted automatic core team status on the HSBC Sevens World
Series 2012/2013, joining the 12 existing core teams on this
On the HSBC Sevens World Series front, this
year’s Series is again a testament to the fast-rising parity in
international sevens with four teams winning the five tournaments
played to date. New Zealand, the defending Hong Kong Sevens
champions, is the only team to have won twice on the Series after
their victories in Port Elizabeth and Wellington.
As the Series heads into Hong Kong just 18
points separate the top four teams on the Series table: New
Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and England; while 5th placed Samoa
recently won its first event of the season with a thrilling
victory in Las Vegas.
Currently, New Zealand tops the HSBC SWS table
on 92 points with Fiji just five points adrift on 87. South Africa
is in third place with 76 points followed by England with 74.
After winning in Las Vegas, Samoa is in fifth place with 69
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens remains
the largest tournament on the Series with 24 teams as opposed to
the 16 teams participating at other HSBC SWS events.
For the draw the 12 core teams in the HSBC SWS
competition were grouped into Pools A, B and C. The Cup Winner,
Runner-Up and Third Place finisher from Las Vegas, Samoa, New
Zealand and Fiji, respectively, were seeded into the first band of
Pool A, B and C. The remaining 9 teams were grouped into 3 groups
of 3 based upon the HSBC SWS standings following Las Vegas and
drawn into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bands of Pools A, B and C.
Following the draw for the HSBC SWS competition,
Pool A comprises Samoa, England, Argentina and Kenya. Pool B
features Series leaders New Zealand, South Africa, Wales and the
United States. Pool C features Fiji, Australia, France and
For the 12-team HSBC SWS qualifier competition
the teams were drawn into Pools D, E and F, each comprising four
teams. The 12 teams were first grouped into 4 groups of 3 based on
their performances at the HSBC SWS and other IRB Sevens events
over the past two years and drawn into each band of Pools D, E and
Following the draw for the HSBC SWS Qualifier,
Pool D features Tonga, Uruguay, the hosts Hong Kong and China.
Pool F comprises Canada, Spain, Zimbabwe and debut team the
Philippines. Pool F includes Portugal, Russia, Japan and the
tournament’s second debutant in 2012 Guyana.
All team groupings have been ratified by the IRB
and Core Teams and Qualifier Teams will not play against each
other. All Core Teams participating in the Cup, Plate and Bowl
shall receive HSBC SWS ranking points for the tournament. The top
four placed teams from the Qualification tournament will receive
ranking points in respect of their final placing in the HSBC SWS
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be
played from 23 to 25 March 2012 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong
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