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Rugby: HK Women’s Sevens expands to two days; Canada return

Canada retained the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens trophy by beating France 24-0 in the final, which was again held in the Hong Kong Stadium as part of the men’s event. Photos: HKRFU.

Canada kept their hands on the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens trophy by beating France 24-0 in last year’s final, which was again held in the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium as part of the men’s event. Photos: HKRFU.

January 30, 2015: The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens will expand from one to two days for its 18th edition, with all matches except the final held at two different venues on March 26 and 27, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) announced.

 

The additional Thursday’s play will be held at King’s Park in Kowloon before the tournament returns to its usual home at Hong Kong Football Club in Causeway Bay on the Friday. The men’s GFI HKFC Tens will retain its slot at Hong Kong Football Club on the Wednesday and Thursday.

 

The women’s Cup final will again be held at the Hong Kong Stadium as part of the men’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and this year will kick off on the Friday at 5.42pm.

 

Hong Kong coach Anna Richards said: “The Hong Kong Women’s Sevens is our showcase event and the move to a two-day tournament makes the competition much more competitive and attractive to the international teams.”

 

Hong Kong won the third-tier Bowl at Hong Kong Football Club in last year's one-day event.

Hong Kong won the third-tier Bowl at Hong Kong Football Club in last year’s one-day event.

As well as the hosts, the 12-team event will feature 11 national teams from five continents – defending champions Canada, Asian champions China, Argentina, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Samoa, Singapore and Tunisia. Canada, who will be bidding for a third straight title in Hong Kong, and China are core teams on the 2014/15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

 

Argentina and Mexico will be making their tournament debut and become the 38th and 39th nations to compete since 1997. However, both teams have competed in Hong Kong before, for the Women’s Sevens Series qualifier last September.

 

“The field looks very strong this year,” Richards said. “We’ve seen several of the teams recently in the qualifiers in Hong Kong and of course we are very familiar with the Asian teams.

 

“Canada have become even better over the past year and I think they will return as the tournament favourites, but it will be interesting to see how China have progressed since joining the Women’s Sevens Series. I think that was a big step up for them, but they always do well in Hong Kong.”

 

Hong Kong won the third-tier Bowl last year and later in the year reached the final of the ARFU Asian Sevens series tournament in Hong Kong.

 

“The squad is very excited about the competition ahead,” Richards said. “The girls love playing at home and it is a great opportunity for them to showcase the improvements we’ve made over the past year.”

 

The Hong Kong Women’s Sevens was previously held a week before the Guangzhou Sevens on the Sevens World Series, but the China leg was dropped from the 2014/15 circuit and replaced by events in Canada and England.

 

Ruth Mitchell, the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens tournament director and Director of Development for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, said: “The Hong Kong women’s rugby community is delighted to host 11 of the top teams from around the world this March. We look forward to once again showcasing world-class women’s rugby to the 40,000 fans inside the Hong Kong Stadium on the Friday night of the men’s Sevens.”

 

Source: HKRFU (www.hkrugby.com); Editing by SportAsia

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