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Hong Kong Sevens

World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier 2018

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will once again play host to the global battle for promotion to the 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the 12-team World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier.
 

Last year’s action saw Spain top the 12-team tournament, (teams are drawn from all of World Rugby’s six geographical regions), edging Germany in the final to book their spot in the main World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series event in Hong Kong this year.
 

Asian Sevens champions Japan failed to stick on the global circuit last season and return to the qualifying stakes in 2018.
 

The field is once again bristling with talent, and form.
 

As declarations of intent go, Germany (not previously known as a major rugby power) made a statement in dispatching Hong Kong in the pool stages for a second year running in 2017, eventually progressing to the final.
 

The emergence of Spain, Russia and Germany in recent years has shown the new focus being placed on sevens rugby on the continent, a trend that has only grown since Rugby Sevens’ inclusion as a medal sport in the 2016 Olympic Games.
 

The latest testament to the renewed interest in sevens is the return of Ireland to their first Hong Kong Sevens since 2000.
 

Ireland finished second in the European Grand Prix last season, behind Russia, to book their spot in Hong Kong.
 

They have also qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens and with the Ireland national rugby team (15s) winning the Six Nations Grand Slam in March, the Irish will be hoping that their luck holds for another tounrament.
 

Ireland top Pool G ahead of Uruguay, Jamaica and Cook Islands.
 

Hosts Hong Kong will be back for another tilt after a disappointing finish last year left them out of the running despite reaching the cup final in 2016, where they just missed out on a full place on the Series after a heartberaking loss to Japan.

 

Hong Kong will once again have the crowd throatily behind them and will be out to perform early on in a season that sees the Rugby World Cup Sevens and Asian Games sevens competition still on the calendar this summer.
 

Hong Kong are pooled along with two of last year’s semi-finalists in Germany and Papua New Guinea as well as an experienced outfit from Zimbabwe.
 

Last year’s debutants Uganda (the 61st nation to take part in the Hong Kong Sevens over the past 43 years) have maintained their form to return as African champions, along with Zimbabwe, who have amassed significant experience on the Series in recent seasons.
 

Uganda are in Pool E along with Japan, one of the favourites to return to the core series, Chile and Georgia.
 

All of the teams come to Hong Kong keener than ever to make sure they can line up for a full season at the very top of the game if they win the qualifying tournament here.

 

 

(Edited on 3 Apr 2018)

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