Hong Kong to Host ‘biggest ever’ Rugby Sevens Tournament

By iSportconnect | March 20, 2013

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union has launched the ‘biggest ever’ Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, with 28 teams competing in 70 matches over three days.

23 of the 28 teams will also compete in the men’s competition at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.

Sixteen of the teams in Hong Kong (the current 15 core teams and Asian champions, Hong Kong) will compete in the main competition, while 12 regional qualifiers will look to keep alive their hopes of gaining core team status on the 2013/14 Series by finishing in the top four of their competition and book a place in the promotion / relegation play-off finale in London in May.

Of those 12 sides, Jamaica and Brazil will make their Hong Kong debuts.

Conor O’Malley, coach of Jamaica, said: “The excitement the guys shared with me when they heard that we were going to Hong Kong was that this is like their World Cup. And some of them even compared it with going to the Olympics, so it is really a big thing for them.

“We would normally have 17 players trying out for the team but this year we’ve had 37 wanting to be a part of this team. They are in good spirits and very excited to be here.”

As Asian champions, Hong Kong line up in the main 16-team competition with matches against Fiji, Canada and Spain. Their coach, Dai Rees, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us and we are in with the big boys. It’s great for the local support and it’s great for Asian rugby.

“I was talking with Serevi recently and he told me it is the best time to get Fiji, first game. I’m not so sure about that, but we will be looking forward to it.

“They’ve only got three players who’ve played in Hong Kong before, so who knows?”

The news follows the announcement that the Hong Kong event will break broadcasting records for the tournament, with 144 countries broadcasting the event.