The following eleven national teams from five
continents will be heading to Hong Kong for the 17th-annual Cathay
Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens next month: Brazil,
Canada, China, France, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Papua
New Guinea, Singapore and South Africa.
Kenya will be on debut at the Hong Kong Women’s
Rugby Sevens in 2014, becoming the 37th international team to take
part in the Women’s Sevens, a pioneering event in international
women’s sevens rugby.
The tournament will be held at the Hong Kong
Football Club on Friday, 28 March 2014 with the women’s final
again taking centre-stage at the men’s Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Kong Sevens on Friday evening in front of 40,000 sevens fans. The
Cup Final of the HKWRS has been played as part of the men’s
Kong Sevens since 1999.
Of the participating teams, Canada and Ireland
are core teams on the IRB Women’s Sevens Series based on their
results at the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in June, 2013 in
Moscow, (all eight quarterfinalists at the World Cup were awarded
core team status on this year’s Series).
2013 Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens champions
Canada will be making a strong bid to defend their title after
having reached the final of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June
losing to New Zealand 12-29.
A third team, Brazil, have been invited by the
International Rugby Board to join all events on this year’s
Women’s World Series to help develop the game ahead of the
country’s hosting of the Olympics in 2016, when sevens will make
its Olympic debut.
Currently Canada lie in fourth place on the IRB
Women’s Sevens Series table, followed by Brazil in eighth place
and Ireland in eleventh place.
The Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens
will be followed by the Guangzhou Sevens, the fourth of five legs
of this season’s IRB Women’s Sevens Series (5-6 April 2014 at
the University Town Stadium).
As always, Asia is well represented in the Hong
Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens with the hosts Hong Kong, China, Japan,
Kazakhstan and Singapore all taking part. China and Japan
qualified as Asia’s top two women’s sevens sides for Moscow and
are the current top-ranked teams in Asia, followed by Kazakhstan
in 3rd place, Hong Kong in 4th place and Singapore in 5th place.
In Moscow, the Asian teams finished at the
bottom of their respective pools making the Hong Kong Women’s
Sevens and the ensuing IRB tournament in Guangzhou important
opportunities for improving their international standing.
At the world championships, China finished at
the bottom of Pool B with losses to Australia, Ireland and South
Africa, while Japan suffered losses to Russia, England and France
in Pool D.
Hosts Hong Kong will enter the tournament with
momentum after kicking off the professional era with Hong Kong’s
inclusion into the
Hong Kong Sports Institute elite athletes
programme. Hong Kong have already managed to collect silverware in
2014, winning the women’s competition at the Darwin Sevens,
including a win over the women’s development sevens team in the
Ms Ruth Mitchell, Tournament Director of the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens and Director
of Development for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, said, “The Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens fills an
important place on the international calendar, offering the teams
going on to play in Guangzhou some high-calibre competition in the
build-up to the fourth leg of the IRB Women’s Sevens Series, while
at the same time giving Asia’s top teams vital exposure to
competition against some of the world’s finest women’s sevens
teams. Closer to home, the tournament involves girls
from every level of our women’s rugby community with girls rugby
games and opportunities for young players to volunteer as team
liaison officers, ball girls and runners. By doing so, the
tournament provides an incredible opportunity for younger players
in Hong Kong to experience the excitement of sevens rugby and
inspiration to try to develop their game to the elite level. We also look forward to continuing our
tradition of showcasing some truly world-class women’s rugby to
the 40,000 fans inside the Hong Kong Stadium on Friday night of
the men’s Seven.”
The official Tournament Draw for the Cathay
Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens will be held at the
Confucius Hall Secondary School in So Kon Po on 11 February 2014,
alongside the draw for the 12-team international HSBC Sevens World
Series (men) qualifying tournament taking place as part of the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2014.
The 2014 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s
Rugby Sevens will be played from 08:00 to 17:30 on Friday, 28 March
at the Hong Kong Football Club. Admission is free via the
Jockey Club Museum Tunnel Entrance.
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