Hong Kong line-up set

11 JANUARY 2007

The 24 teams to compete at the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2007 from 30 March to 1 April have been announced.

The Hong Kong event, the fifth in the IRB Sevens World Series, remains the only tournament to host an expanded field of 24 teams and offers additional championship points to the winners.

Defending champions in Hong Kong are England, currently tied third-equal in the series standings after semi final appearances in both Dubai and George, South Africa. Ben Ryan's side will be trying to capture a fifth England Hong Kong Sevens title in six years but are sure to face a huge challenge with Fiji, winners of 11 Hong Kong Sevens tournaments, series leaders New Zealand and South Africa all out for honours.

The other core series teams competing in Hong Kong include France, Samoa, Argentina, five-time Hong Kong Sevens champions Australia, Canada, Kenya, Portugal and Scotland.

Other teams participating in Hong Kong this year include last year’s Hong Kong Sevens Plate champions Wales as well as Russia, the USA, Tonga, Italy and Tunisia, who will be buoyed by a strong performance in George, where they reached the Plate final.

These teams will be joined by the traditional complement of Asian rugby nations including Japan and Korea, gold and silver medalists at the rugby sevens competition of the 15th Asian Games in Doha in December 2006 with Japan eking out gold after a thrilling 27–26 victory. Other Asian teams entering the fray are China, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and of course the hosts Hong Kong, who finished the Asian Games in fifth place just ahead of the Sri Lankans.

"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 world’s 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," he added.

Hong Kong competing teams:

Argentina*; Australia*; Canada*; China; Chinese Taipei; England*; Fiji*; France*; Hong Kong; Italy ;Japan ; Kenya* ; Korea ; New Zealand* ; Portugal*; Russia ; Samoa* ; Scotland*; South Africa* ; Sri Lanka ; Tonga ; Tunisia ; USA; Wales
* IRB Sevens World Series core team; Regular World Sevens Participant; Asian Expanded HK7's Participant