Preview: Hong Kong Sevens
THE ULTIMATE TEST: Sevens fans are in for a treat this weekend as the World Series moves on to the seventh round in Hong Kong.
The weekend’s actions also includes the Series Qualifier events – with 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams competing for a core team place on the 2020 series.
Heading into Hong Kong, the United States sit top of the standings, closely followed by World Cup Sevens 2018 winners New Zealand and Olympic champions Fiji – who are seeking their fifth successive title in Hong Kong.
Speaking at the captains’ launch, United States captain Madison Hughes said: “It’s been a good run with four Cup finals to kick off the year, getting the win in Vegas and making the semifinal in Vancouver and that’s the key for us in targeting the top four.
“Here we are sitting in first place.
“There is a little bit of dreaming but we’re taking it one tournament at a time.
“We have got a tough pool and we are not taking anything for granted but we are excited and ready to get going here in Hong Kong.”
* Continue reading below …
The pool draw for Hong Kong sees South Africa, crowned Canada Sevens champions in Vancouver last month, face Las Vegas runners-up Samoa, Scotland and Japan in Pool A.
Pool B features Vancouver silver medallists France, Argentina, Canada and invitational side Portugal.
Pool C is a mouth-watering prospect with New Zealand and Fiji, who sit second and third in the standings respectively, drawn alongside Australia and last year’s Hong Kong finalists Kenya.
The final pool will see series leaders United States tackle England, Wales and Spain, the latter having created history in Vancouver with their first ever victory over the All Blacks Sevens.
* Meanwhile the captains of the 12 teams competing in the World Series qualifier will be aiming to earn a core place on the 2020 World Series.
Pool E of the men’s qualifier includes hosts Hong Kong, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Tonga, the latter two having featured on the 2019 series as invitational sides in Dubai and Cape Town and Hamilton and Sydney respectively.
London Sevens 2018 bronze medallists Ireland, who reached the semifinals in last year’s qualifier, are set to face 2018 series core team Russia, Uruguay and Jamaica in Pool F.
Germany, who have suffered heartbreak in the final of the last two qualifiers, will be hoping it is third time lucky in 2019 and are named in Pool G alongside Uganda, the Cook Islands and Chile, the invitational team in Las Vegas and Vancouver last month.
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus eight hours)
Friday, April 5
Samoa v Scotland – 17.42
South Africa v Japan – 18.06
England v Wales – 18.31
United States v Spain – 18.53
New Zealand v Australia – 19.15
Fiji v Kenya – 19.37
Argentina v Canada – 20.01
France v Portugal – 20.26
Saturday, April 6
Samoa v Japan – 11.16
South Africa v Scotland – 11.41
England v Spain – 12.03
United States v Wales – 12.25
New Zealand v Kenya – 12.51
Fiji v Australia – 13.13
Argentina v Portugal – 13.35
France v Canada – 13.59
Scotland v Japan – 15.00
South Africa v Samoa – 15.22
Wales v Spain – 15.44
United States v England – 16.08
Australia v Kenya – 16.33
Fiji v New Zealand – 16.55
Canada v Portugal – 17.17
France v Argentina – 17.41