With the first kick off of this years Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens fast approaching the levels of anticipation are high as Hong Kong prepares for the most competitive tournament held in the 37 year history of the world-famous event. And with Over 120,000 spectators are expected across the three-day tournament it’ll also be one of the biggest.
Hong Kong retains its unique status as the largest event on the HSBC Sevens World Series with 24 teams as opposed to 16 at other circuit events, but the tournament has a unique new role in 2012 as this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will double as a qualification event to identify three new teams to participate in an expanded 15 core team HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) next season.
As a result, Hong Kong will play host to two competitions played within the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. A 12-team core team competition will contest the Hong Kong Sevens Cup, Plate and Bowl with points being awarded to the HSBC SWS standings.
The 12 HSBC SWS core teams are Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.
A separate HSBC Sevens World Series qualification tournament will be held for the remaining 12 teams. The top three finishers overall in this competition will gain automatic entry to the HSBC SWS 2012/2013. The Qualifier teams are Canada, China, Guyana, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tonga, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
Philippines and Guyana will make their debut in this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, becoming the 50th and 51st national teams to take part in the tournament since its inception in 1976.
Organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and co-sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and HSBC, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be held from Friday, 23Mar12 to Sunday, 25Mar12 at the Hong Kong Stadium.