irbsevens.com and James Mortimer 11.Mar.2013Getty Images
In anticipation of its biggest ever Sevens party, the HKRFU is inviting fans to rate their favourite 'Songs of the Sevens' and suggest new anthems to be played as an accompaniment to the weekend's action.
Fans can visit the official Hong Kong Sevens and Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Facebook pages to vote for their favourites with Korean artist Psy’s “Gangnam Style” an early front-runner for inclusion over Sevens weekend.
As in 2012, the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens will host two competitions, a 16-team HSBC Sevens World Series competition for the 15 current core teams plus HSBC Asian Sevens Series champions, Hong Kong, and a 12-team pre-qualification tournament, from which four will proceed to London where they will try to win promotion to World Series core team status for the 2013/14 season.
The 16 teams participating in the core competition are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States, Wales and Hong Kong.
The remaining 12 teams in the pre-qualifier hail from all over the world with two teams from each of the IRB’s regions. Tonga and the Cook Islands represent Oceania; Georgia and Russia represent Europe; Zimbabwe and Tunisia add to the African contingent; Mexico and Jamaica hail from North America and Caribbean and Uruguay and Brazil represent South America.
Closer to home, the Hong Kong Sevens continues its role as the showcase event for Asian rugby with the region’s second and third-ranked sevens teams, Japan and Chinese Taipei, rounding out the regional participants.
From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong (round 6) and a final core team qualifier in London (round 9).
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will feature 28 teams and two competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, Hong Kong, will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second, 12 regional teams - two from each of the six IRB regions - will compete for four places at the core team qualifying final in London.
The Marriott London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions: In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th-, 14th- and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.