Teams Announced for Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007

Travel News Asia Friday, 12 January 2007

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has unveiled the 24 teams that will compete at the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 (March 30 to April 1 2007). The Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 remains the only IRB Sevens World Series tournament to host an expanded field of 24 teams and offers additional championship points to the winners, making it the largest and most competitive tournament on the eight-event circuit.

The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is one of the Greatest Sporting Parties and Events of the Year - click for more pictures

The 12 core teams on the IRB Sevens World Series will again be battling for the Hong Kong Sevens Cup, led by current series co-leaders New Zealand, winners of the most recent tournament in George, South Africa and South Africa, winners of the opening tournament on the 2006/07 circuit in Dubai. Defending Hong Kong Sevens champions England, currently tied 2nd on the IRB Sevens World Series table after making the Cup semi finals in both tournaments played to date, will try to capture their fifth Hong Kong Sevens title in six years. Fiji, winner of 11 Hong Kong Sevens tournaments and both Rugby World Cups held in Hong Kong in 1997 and 2005, and Rugby World Cup Sevens (2005) Plate champions Samoa, round out the top five teams on the IRB Sevens World Series championship table participating in Hong Kong. The other core series teams competing in Hong Kong include France; five-time Hong Kong Sevens champions Australia who won the Bowl in Dubai, Canada, Argentina, Kenya, Portugal and Scotland.

Teams outside the core IRB Sevens World Series participating in Hong Kong this year include last years Hong Kong Sevens Plate champions Wales, (currently in 7th place on the IRB Sevens World Series table after winning the Shield at the Dubai Sevens and the Plate in George), Russia and the United States, both of whom have yet to participate on the IRB Sevens series in 2006/2007, Tonga and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens Bowl champions Italy.

Tunisia will be returning to Hong Kong after promising performances to date on the circuit, especially in George, where the Tunisians reached the Plate final, losing to Wales 5 26. As well as making the plate final in South Africa, Tunisia has recorded victories over Argentina, Samoa, Australia and Scotland (all core teams) during the first two World Series events.

These teams will be joined by the traditional complement of Asian rugby nations in Hong Kong including Japan and Korea, gold and silver medalists at the rugby sevens competition of the 15th Asian Games in Doha in December 2006. These two perennial Asian challengers finished the final match in Doha with the smallest winning margin in Asian Games sevens history with Japan eking out gold after a 27 26 victory. Other Asian teams entering the fray are China and Chinese Taipei. China pipped Chinese Taipei 19 12 to win the Bronze medal in Doha. Chinese Taipei finished fourth overall at the Asian Games, setting a competition record along the way for the biggest winning margin in Asian Games sevens history, beating Qatar 82 nil.

Hosts Hong Kong finished in fifth place at the Asian Games, edging fellow Hong Kong Sevens 2007 challenger Sri Lanka, into 6th overall in Doha after winning their head to head match 35 5. Taken together, the Asian teams represent fully 25% of all participating nations at the Hong Kong Sevens 2007, continuing the tournaments role as a seminal event for the continued development of Asian rugby.

"We are very excited to welcome all of the teams to the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007. With this being a world cup year, it is fantastic to have the majority of the worlds top rugby nations from both the northern and southern hemisphere participating," said HKRFU Executive Director, Allan Payne.

"We are always happy to see the leading rugby nations return, but the HKRFU are particularly pleased that we have been able to maintain the number of teams from Asia in 2007. The Hong Kong Sevens has been instrumental in the development of rugby in Asia in the past 30 years, and we are delighted that we can continue to provide an international stage for Asian rugby nations to compete on," Payne added.

Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 Competing Teams: Argentina, Hong Kong, Samoa, Australia, Italy, Scotland, Canada, Japan, South Africa, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Tonga, England, New Zealand, Tunisia, Fiji, Portugal, USA, France, Russia, and Wales.

See other recent news regarding: Hong Kong, Rugby, Rugby Sevens

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