New Format for Hong Kong Sevens

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Hong Kong continues its role as the largest event on the HSBC Sevens World Series, hosting 24 teams compared with the 16 hosted by other events.

Now, the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012, will also play an instrumental qualification role for teams to reach core team status on the 2012/13 Series.

This years tournament will feature two unique 12-team competitions played simultaneously at the Hong Kong Stadium across the events traditional three-day format from 23-25 March 2012.

The existing 12-core teams on the HSBC Sevens World Series will compete together with all points earned from this competition going towards the HSBC Sevens World Series 2011/12 table. Those teams are Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales. The 12 core teams from the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series will retain their core team status for next season.

The remaining 12 non-HSBC Sevens World Series teams invited to participate in Hong Kong will play in a direct qualifying competition over the event weekend. These teams are Canada, China, Guyana, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tonga, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

The top three teams emerging from this competition will earn automatic core team status and the right to participate in every event on the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series in an expanded 15-team core competitive format for next years international sevens circuit.

The new system provides every nation competing in their regional qualifying tournaments with a direct opportunity to gain core team status and compete on every round of the World Series.

Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Chairman, Trevor Gregory, said, The opportunity for Hong Kong to host the qualification tournament for core team status is a direct and positive reflection on the history, internationalism and scale of the Hong Kong Sevens and continues to reinforce the prestige of our world-famous event.

IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, added, As we build towards Rio 2016 and our Olympic Games debut it is important that opportunities exist for all nations to progress to Series core team status if they are good enough. The new system provides every nation competing in their regional qualifying tournaments with a direct opportunity to gain core team status and compete on every round of the World Series ... Hong Kong is an iconic event and unique in its 24-team status. We are delighted that it will also host the direct qualifying event to compete on the entire HSBC Sevens World Series. I would like to thank the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union for their full support, as well as our Regional Associations and all of our Member Unions.

From 2012/13 season onwards, promotion and relegation from core team status will come into effect.

Following the announcement that all participating teams will take points from every round of the 2011/12 Series, the IRB has also confirmed that each round of the Series will now carry the same number of points. Hong Kong, which previously carried more points than the other rounds of the series, will now bring its points system in line with other events on the HSBC Sevens World Series.

As such, the participating core teams this year will receive points on a sliding scale with 22 Series points awarded to the Cup winner, 19 to the Cup runner-up. The Cup semi-finalist that wins the 3rd/4th play-off will receive 17 points while the play-off loser will be awarded 15 points.

The Plate winner will be awarded 13 points for their efforts while the Plate finalist will receive 12 points and Plate semi-finalists will receive 10 points each. The Bowl winner will be awarded eight points with the runner-up getting seven points. Bowl semi-finalists earn five points each. The winner of the Shield receives three points, while the runner-up gets two. The Shield semi-finalists are awarded one point each.

The tournament pools and full schedule will be revealed after the official tournament draw for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in Hong Kong on 16 February 2012.

The Hong Kong Sevens will also include additional Womens matches with the Cup final, semi-finals and the Plate final of the Hong Kong Womens Rugby Sevens, (celebrating its 15th year in 2012), being played during the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. With full IRB sanctioning of the Womens event, the teams will now compete for the IRB Womens Sevens Challenge Cup.

Hong Kong offers the largest prize purse in international sevens (US$150,000), setting the stage for another frenetic weekend of fast action, furious tackling and the festival atmosphere that makes the Hong Kong Sevens a legendary event in world rugby and Asias top annual sporting event.

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be played from 23 to 25 March 2012 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium.

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