The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union held the
official draw for the
2015 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
and the 2015 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens on
A total of 40 international teams were drawn
into the three competitions.
Taking place were the draws for the HSBC Sevens
World Series Core Team Competition – among the 15 member teams
plus Belgium, who join at the invitation of World Rugby – and the
12-team international Series qualifier tournament, along with the
draw for the 12-team Hong Kong Women’s Sevens.
In 2013, World Rugby implemented a direct
promotion-and-relegation format for the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Hong Kong was awarded the honour of hosting this single
qualification event in 2014 and has again been granted this
distinction in 2015.
The winner of the 12-team international
qualifier, featuring two teams from each of World Rugby’s six
regions, will advance directly to a spot on next year’s HSBC SWS,
replacing the bottom- ranked core team after the completion of the
With the addition of the Qualifier tournament,
the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens remains the largest
tournament on the HSBC SWS, with 28 participating teams.
tournament will feature 70 men’s matches and the Cup Final of the
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens, with the pitch
action taking place over three days, 27-29 March 2015.
Belgium will be the 59th national team to take
the field in Hong Kong over the past 40 years and teams from 32
nations will be competing across the men’s and women’s sevens
tournaments in Hong Kong next month.
For the qualifier, Asian sevens champions Hong
Kong have qualified alongside South Korea as the representatives
from Asia. Zimbabwe and Tunisia qualified from Africa while Russia
and Spain will represent Europe. Mexico and Guyana represent North
America and the Caribbean, while playing for Oceania will be Tonga
and Papua New Guinea. Brazil, hosts of the 2016 Olympic Games
where Rugby Sevens will debut, have qualified from South America
The outcome of Monday’s draw throws up
some tantalising and competitive groupings in both the men’s
The Core Team Competition will see series
leaders South Africa head Pool C alongside France, Argentina and
Japan. Fiji, second placed on the international series, top Pool A
with Canada, Samoa and Belgium. New Zealand head up Pool B with
Australia, Scotland and Portugal, while high-flying United States
round out the groups in Pool D, along with England, Kenya and
For the 12-team HSBC SWS Qualifier competition,
all of the participating teams were first banded into four groups
of three teams each by World Rugby, based on their performances on
the HSBC SWS and at other international 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.
As a result of the draw for the HSBC SWS
Qualifier, Pool E features hosts Hong Kong with Uruguay, Brazil
and Mexico. Pool F comprises Russia, Papua New Guinea, South Korea
and Tunisia, while lining up in Pool G are Spain, Zimbabwe, Tonga
Kong sevens senior coach Gareth Baber, said, “Hong Kong is the
best sevens tournament in the world and I’m thoroughly looking
forward to it. I have seen what this sporting institution 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 their absolute best. Asked for how the tournament might play out,
Baber cautioned that “you can’t stray too far away from the likes
of Fiji and New Zealand”, but noted as significant that the United
States were “up there in fourth place, looking to get in a good
position for the 2016 Olympics”.
Women’s Sevens Draw
Twelve teams from five continents will be taking
part in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens 2015, the
17th anniversary of this pioneering women’s rugby competition. The
12 teams have been banded based on their current ranking on the
World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series as well as rankings in other
regional competitions and past performances at the Hong Kong
In the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s
Rugby Sevens, Pool A features Canada, Argentina, Samoa and Mexico;
Pool B is all-Asian affair, bringing together China, Hong Kong,
Kazakhstan and Singapore; while in Pool C are Japan, Netherlands,
Papua New Guinea and Tunisia.
Hong Kong women’s sevens coach Anna Richards,
who was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014, was
“excited about” the women’s tournament, noting the strength of
Women’s Sevens World Series teams China, who Hong Kong face in
Pool B, and Canada, but also welcoming newcomers Mexico and
Argentina, who she said “strengthened the competition”.
With 28 participating teams and the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens Cup Final, the Sevens
will hosts 71 games in 2015 and a corresponding increase in the
non-stop entertainment for which the Hong Kong Sevens is renowned
Hong Kong Magnificent Seven
Among the initiatives launched by the HKRFU to
commemorate 40 Years of Sevens in Hong Kong is the naming of a
group of all-time best players in Hong Kong, fittingly dubbed
‘Hong Kong’s Magnificent Seven’.
There is enormous competition for this honour
among the stellar roll call of rugby legends that have graced the
Hong Kong tournament, including: David Campese, Mark Ella, Michael
Lynagh, George Gregan, Zinzan Brooke, Jonah Lomu, John Kirwan,
Joost van de Westhuizen, Glenn Osborne, John Maxwell, Waisale
Serevi, Tomasi Cama, Mesake Resari, Simon Amor, Ben Gollings, and
Neil Back, to highlight but a few.
The first two recipients of this vaunted honour
were named on Monday as China’s Zhang Zhiqiang – reigning top try
scorer at the Hong Kong Sevens since the inception of the Series
in 2000, and English sevens legend Ben Gollings, all-time leading
points scorer in Hong Kong since 2000.
The remaining five members of the team will be
announced, one per week for the coming five weeks leading up to
the men’s sevens, with the complete team to be revealed at the 40
Years of Sevens Gala Dinner in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening, 25
The HKRFU is also
polling fans to find the best player to have represented Hong
Kong at its home Sevens since 1976.
An expanded lineup of
local and international entertainment for this year’s tournament
has been organised,
including a headline performance from international recording
artists the Village People as well as the debut appearance of Kung
Fu Rugby, reinforcing the Hong Kong event’s reputation for
groundbreaking and compelling entertainment amid the rugby
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will
take place from 27 to 29 March 2015 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong
Pictures from 2014 Cathay Pacific /
HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
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