The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has
unveiled details of the format and participating teams at next
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
The world-famous tournament will see Hong Kong
retain its status as the largest tournament on the HSBC Sevens
World Series (HSBC SWS) with 28 participating teams after it was
confirmed that Hong Kong would again host an international
qualification event for the HSBC SWS.
Three teams will make their debut at the Sevens,
American Samoa, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, all of which
will play in the qualifier – bringing to 56 the total number of
nations or territories represented at the Hong Kong Sevens since 1976.
In addition to the 15 core teams taking part
on this season’s HSBC SWS, (those participating in all nine HSBC
SWS events in 2013/2014), Hong Kong will host a 16th team in the
main event and a 12-team international qualifier tournament for a
total of 28 participating teams in 2014.
Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New
Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United
States of America and Wales are the 15 core teams on this year’s
After three events on the current Series
(Gold Coast, Australia, Dubai, UAE and Port Elizabeth, South
Africa), New Zealand lead the Series with 58 points, just two in
front of South Africa and 10 in front of Fiji – the other two
sides to have won tournaments this season. To date the three HSBC
SWS tournaments have been won by three different teams: New
Zealand won in Australia, Fiji won for the first time in 15 years
in Dubai and South Africa won an emotional South Africa Sevens played in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death.
16th team selected to round out the 15-team core competition is
yet to be announced by the International Rugby Board (IRB). That
team will come from outside of the best remaining non-core teams
from each international region, who will play in the HSBC SWS
qualifier tournament in Hong Kong.
IRB confirmed that to ensure a pathway into the HSBC SWS a direct
promotion and relegation format would be in place in 2013/14.
The IRB has awarded Hong Kong the honour of hosting
this single qualification event as part of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2014. The winner of the 12-team qualifier will
advance directly to a spot on next year’s HSBC SWS, replacing the
bottom ranked core team after the completion of the 2013/14
The stakes are high for Hong Kong – who
along with Japan, will be vying to become the first team from Asia
to qualify for a core team spot on the HSBC SWS.
reinforcing the internationalism and competitiveness of the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, the qualifier tournament is
bolstering the honour roll of international nations and
territories to have taken part in the world-famous Hong Kong
Sevens to 56 teams since 1976.
The teams in the
qualification tournament are also adding some island flair to the
tournament, which will be reflected in the competition on Friday
of the Sevens. Eight of the 28 participating teams in 2014 come
from island nations or territories, 30% of the total participating
teams, playing in the world’s best Sevens tournament – hosted on
Hong Kong island!
The three debut teams in 2014,
American Samoa, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are joined by
Cook Islands, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Russia, Tunisia, Zimbabwe
and two teams from South America who will be determined at their
Regional Sevens Tournament in late January.
the two tournaments within the event has also occasioned some
changes to the schedule to accommodate the 28 participating teams
and 70 matches that will be played over the weekend. This year’s
opening day on Friday will see two rounds of the qualification
pool matches played on Friday alongside the opening pool matches
of the HSBC SWS core competition in Hong Kong (one match per core
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will take place 28-30
Pictures from the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens
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