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Hong Kong will host its biggest ever Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in the 38-year history of the tournament, this coming weekend.

 This yearís Sevens will comprise the HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) competition with the 15 international core teams on the Series plus Asian Sevens champions Hong Kong, alongside a 12-team pre-qualifier competition to determine the eventual entrants for the final HSBC SWS qualification event at the London Sevens in May.

The move to 28 teams is the first increase in the Hong Kong Sevens field since the 24-team standard was adopted in 1984. The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2013 will also mark the largest ever tournament held to date as part of the HSBC Sevens World Series since its inception in 1999.

As such, it is entirely fitting that the international television coverage is set to break an HSBC SWS record with 23 individual broadcasters taking the live coverage worldwide and live/delayed coverage reaching its widest footprint ever with an expected reach of 257 million homes in 144 countries.

Of the 28 participating teams at this yearís Hong Kong Sevens Brazil and Jamaica are making their Hong Kong Sevens debut, becoming the 52nd and 53rd nations respectively to take part in the tournament since 1976.

In a testament to the growing parity in international sevens rugby, five different teams have won the five HSBC SWS events played to date. Defending Hong Kong Sevens champions Fiji won the Seriesí opener in Australia, while Samoa claimed the cup in Dubai, followed by New Zealand in South Africa (Port Elizabeth). England won the Wellington Sevens, while South Africa, who have been in two finals in Hong Kong but have yet to win the Cup, are the winners of the most recent HSBC SWS event in Las Vegas.

The results leave New Zealand as current HSBC SWS leaders on 96 points, followed by South Africa (73), Samoa (71), Fiji (66), France (59), Kenya (57), Argentina (53), Wales (44), England (42) and Canada (39).

The 15 HSBC SWS core teams are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.

The continued parity on the series makes a win in Hong Kong even more important for the teams and a pivotal factor in deciding the overall HSBC SWS champions.

The Cup winner in Hong Kong will receive 22 points towards their series standings while the runners-up will receive 19. Third and fourth place finishers receive 17 and 15 points respectively.

The US$100,000 prize for the Cup champions in Hong Kong will only add to the intensity of the competition this weekend at the Hong Kong Stadium. Hong Kong offers the largest prize purse in international sevens (US$150,000) with the runners-up receiving US$25,000 and each Cup semi finalist taking home US$12,500.

A separate 12-team HSBC Sevens World Series pre-qualification tournament will also be held this weekend. The 12 pre-qualifier teams (two from each of the six International Rugby Board regions) are Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Cook Islands, Georgia, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Tonga, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, the five teams advancing from the pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong will contest a final core team qualifier in London.

The London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions. In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th, 14th and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.

A record 70 menís matches will be played as part of this yearís tournament. Matches start at 16.00 on Friday and 9.00am on Saturday and Sunday.

 For a tenth consecutive year, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has attracted sold out attendance. Over 120,000 cumulative spectators are expected across the three-day tournament.

Pictures and Other Coverage of Hong Kong Sevens 2013

As there are so many Pictures of the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2013 we have cut them up into different pages: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11, Page 12, Page 13, Page 14, Page 15, Page 16, Page 17 and Page 18.

See past stories about the Hong Kong Sevens 2013: Pictures from Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Results from Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Sevens Legend Waisale Serevi Inducted into IRB Hall of Fame, Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2013 Ready for Kick Off!, What Impact Does Hong Kong Sevens Have on Long-Haul Travel?, South Stand Fashion - What to Wear at the Hong Kong Sevens, HKRFU Launches Rugby App; Chance to Win Tickets to HK Sevens, Hong Kong RFU to Launch a School of Rugby in Hong Kong, HKRFU Partners Serevi Rugby to Provide Special Training Camps, HKRFU Names Men's and Women's Sevens Squads, US Eagles Land in HK for Sevens; Jamaica Ready for Debut, Air Pacific Partners Ben Kende Foundation to Provide Medical Supplies to FORU, Rugby Sevens Teams from South Africa and France Arrive in Hong Kong, Official Draw for the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens, Beach Boys to Perform at Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens Officially Sold Out!, 2013 Hong Kong Sevens Public Ticket Sale to be via Public Ballot, Fans in Australia Can Purchase Tickets for 2013 Hong Kong Sevens, Biggest Hong Kong Sevens Ever! and Dates for the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2013.

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Hong Kong, HSBC, Cathay Pacific, Rugby World Cup, Rugby League World Cup, Rugby, Sevens, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Sevens

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