The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) today
unveiled details of the format and participating teams for the
2015 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
2015 marks the 40th
year of the sevens in Hong Kong and the HKRFU is planning an
expanded rugby and entertainment offering for the expected 120,000
visitors to the event from 27-29 March at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The world-famous tournament will see Hong Kong once again retain
its status as the largest tournament on the HSBC Sevens World
Series (HSBC SWS) with 16 international teams contesting the HSBC
Sevens World Series core team competition and an additional 12
teams contesting the international HSBC Sevens World Series
qualifier for a chance at promotion to the international series in
The 15 core teams on the HSBC SWS will once
again be delighting the fans in Hong Kong as the world’s finest
exponents of world seven-aside rugby. New Zealand is the defending
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens champion after their 26-7
victory over England in last year’s cup final.
Played underneath ominous clouds before the heavens opened on the
champions’ celebratory Haka, last year’s win marked New Zealand’s
11th cup title in Hong Kong, putting them behind only Fiji with 14
victories in the annals of Hong Kong champions.
Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya,
New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, United
States of America and Wales are the 15 core teams on this year’s
The sixteenth team invited by World
Rugby to round out the HSBC SWS core competition in Hong Kong will
be Belgium. 2015 will be the first appearance for Belgium at the
world-renowned Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. They become
the 57th nation to have participated in Hong Kong since the
tournament’s inception in 1976.
Once again, a
12-team qualifying competition will accompany the core team action
at the Hong Kong Stadium. The 12 teams, comprising two teams from
each of World Rugby’s six regions, will be battling for the sole
spot available for promotion to the HSBC Sevens World Series in
the 2015/2016 season.
The winner of the qualifier will replace the
bottom placed team on the HSBC Sevens World Series after the
completion of the final event on this year’s Series at Twickenham
The twelve confirmed teams for the
qualifier tournament are Russia and Spain from Europe, Papua New
Guinea and Tonga from Oceania, Zimbabwe and Tunisia from Africa,
Mexico and Guyana from the Americas and Uruguay and Brazil from
Hosts Hong Kong, champions of the
Asian Rugby Football Union’s regional sevens series in 2014, will
be joined by South Korea as Asia’s representatives in the
qualifier competition. 2013 Asian sevens champions Japan were
victorious in last year’s international qualifier and are
participating in the core HSBC Sevens World Series this season.
The official tournament draw for all 28
participating teams will be held in Hong Kong on 16 February
Hosting the two distinct tournaments within
the event has occasioned some modifications to the schedule timing
to accommodate the 28 participating teams and the final of the
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens, which has been
played on the Friday evening of the Hong Kong Sevens since 1998.
This year’s opening day on Friday will see two
rounds of the qualification pool matches played alongside the
opening pool matches of the HSBC SWS core competition in Hong Kong
(one match per core team).
Gates will be opened earlier to
accommodate the 71 matches that will be played over the weekend.
On Friday of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong
Sevens, the gates will open one hour earlier at 11.00 with the
first kick-off at 13.00. The opening day competition will finish
at 21.00, while Saturday sees the action
take place from 07.00 (first kick off at 09.00) until 19.30. Sunday’s match action will kick off at 09.30 (gates open at 07.00)
to allow additional time for a special celebration of 40 years of
sevens rugby in Hong Kong.
The 28 teams
participating in Hong Kong over the event weekend is nearly double
that of other HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments (16 teams) in
the current season.
When factoring in the 12
international women’s teams taking part in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC
Hong Kong Women’s Sevens and dozens of club and representative
teams contesting the plethora of social and youth tournaments
staged around the city during what is widely known as ‘Rugby
Week’, Hong Kong will once again be welcoming the rugby world to
its vibrant shores in 2015.
The main musical act
for the 2015 tournament has been confirmed as
international recording artists the Village People whose costumed
capers and legendary songbook will add to the famed fancy
dress frolics of the Hong Kong Sevens in 2015.
Pictures from 2014 Cathay Pacific /
HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
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