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Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Men’s Qualifier and Women’s Sevens Draw

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The official draw for the HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier tournament, which will be played simultaneously with the core team HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) competition at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2014, was held on Tuesday evening in Hong Kong.

 The Tournament Draw for the 12-team Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens was also held alongside the Men’s Qualifier draw.

With the Tokyo Sevens, the sixth event on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series, taking place the weekend prior to the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens, the draw for the 15 core teams participating in the HSBC SWS competition and Sri Lanka, (invited by the International Rugby Board to compete as the 16th team in the core team competition), will be held in Tokyo on Sunday, 23 March 2014.

Previously, the IRB confirmed that for the first time since the inception of its Sevens World Series in 1999 a direct promotion and relegation format would be in place in 2013/14. The IRB 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 Season.

With the addition of the Qualifier tournament, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens remains the largest tournament on the HSBC SWS with 28 teams. The 2014 tournament will feature 70 men’s matches and the Cup final of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens.

The HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier being played in Hong Kong comprises 12 teams, including the two regional champions from all six Rugby regions recognized by the IRB.

Japan and Hong Kong have qualified from Asia. Zimbabwe and Tunisia qualified from Africa while Russia and Italy will represent Europe. Trinidad and Tobago and the Barbados – both of which are on debut in Hong Kong, will represent North America and the Caribbean. Oceania will be represented by the Cook Islands and American Samoa, also making its Hong Kong Sevens debut. Another debutant, Chile, have qualified from South America alongside Uruguay.

The teams on debut in Hong Kong next March will bring the total number of nations or territories to have taken part in a Hong Kong Sevens tournament to 57 since the inception of the Hong Kong tournament in 1976.

The Draw

For the 12-team HSBC SWS Qualifier competition, all of the participating teams were first banded into four groups of three teams each by the International Rugby Board based on their performances on the HSBC SWS and at other IRB Sevens events over the preceding two years and then drawn to complete Pools E, F and G.

 The HSBC SWS core teams and the 12 teams contesting the Qualifier will not play against each other in Hong Kong.

Following the draw for the HSBC SWS Qualifier, Pool E features Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile and Barbados. Pool F comprises the hosts Hong Kong, Italy, Tunisia and American Samoa while Pool G includes Japan, Cook Islands, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago.

New Hong Kong Sevens coach Gareth Baber commented on the men’s Qualifier draw saying, “I was fortunate enough to play in the Hong Kong Sevens and also to coach Wales here, so tonight is a nice reminder of exactly what comes with the territory of being a head coach at Sevens ... Hong Kong is the best Sevens tournament in the world. I’m thoroughly looking forward to it and tonight I have seen what it means to the people of Hong Kong, but particularly I see what it means to the players and how motivated they are to ensure that they are playing at the top level. They know how important it is to them, so we’ll plan accordingly to that and hopefully we can get ourselves in the position, with the support of the fans in Hong Kong, to get on to the world series.”

Twelve teams from five continents will be taking part in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens 2014, the 17th anniversary of this pioneering women’s rugby competition.

The 12 teams have been banded based on their current ranking on the IRB Women’s Sevens Series as well as rankings in other regional competitions.

For the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens Pool A features Canada, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. Pool B features Brazil, South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Pool C features France, China and Kenya and Pool D features Ireland, Japan and Singapore.

With 28 participating teams and the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens Cup Final there is an increase to 71 games for the 2014 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and a corresponding increase in the non-stop entertainment that the Hong Kong Sevens is renowned for worldwide.

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be played from 28 to 30 March 2014 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium.

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Sevens, Rugby, Hong Kong Sevens

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