Pools drawn for Sevens showdown in Hong Kong

The pools have been drawn for the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens (5-7 April 2024) at the Hong Kong Stadium, the sixth of eight tournaments on the HSBC SVNS, and the full schedule has now been confirmed.

Robbie McRobbie, CEO of Hong Kong China Rugby, spoke in anticipation of an incredible weekend of rugby action, with the event on track to be a first sellout since the pandemic. He remarked, "the schedule announcement is a key milestone in our event preparation, and with just four weeks to go, really ignites the tournament into life. It allows fans to now build excitement for their most-anticipated on-field matchups and favourite entertainment acts.”

In the 12-team men’s competition, France, winners of the most recent tournament in Los Angeles, have the honour of leading Pool A alongside third-ranked Fiji, fifth-placed holders Australia and Canada.

Team Great Britain tops Pool B with Series leaders Argentina, winners of all three tournaments (Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver) before Los Angeles, in the second seed.  USA and New Zealand, in eighth and sixth spots on the HSBC SVNS table respectively, round out the Pool.

Pool C sees Ireland – currently second in the standings after finishing as runners-up in Perth and the USA, atop the pool with tenth-placed Spain, eleventh-ranked Samoa and seventh-ranked South Africa, who were winners of the Series opener in Dubai.

In the 12-team women’s competition, a taut battle between Australia and New Zealand is developing, with both sides claiming two cup wins to date.  Australia won the two opening legs in Dubai and Cape Town, while New Zealand won the two most recent tournaments in Los Angeles and Vancouver.  Ireland won the cup in Perth. 

Only four points separate the two women’s leaders ahead of Hong Kong with Australia on 90 and New Zealand on 86. France is in third on 74.  USA and Canada round out the top five as the action moves to Hong Kong.

New Zealand top Pool A ahead of France, Brazil and Team Great Britain.  Australia head Pool B over South Africa, Ireland and Fiji, while fourth-placed USA head Pool C with Canada, Japan and Spain.

World Rugby Sevens General Manager, Sam Pinder said: “The Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is always a highlight in the global rugby sevens calendar for players, teams and fans alike, and 2024 promises to be a year to remember. With the clock counting down until rugby sevens kicks off the Olympic Games in Paris, the action on the pitch will be hotter than ever with World Rugby’s revamped HSBC SVNS competition formula providing fans with even more excitement, jeopardy and entertainment than ever before.

“Today’s announcement of the match schedule means fans can now mark their calendars, prepare their costumes and get set for three days of exhilarating rugby sevens action as the best men’s and women’s teams in the world come to showcase their skills in front of the famous Hong Kong crowd.”

The Melrose Claymores competition introduced by Hong Kong China Rugby in 2024 will also feature across all three days of the tournament. China, Japan and hosts Hong Kong China will take part in the men’s competition, while China and Thailand join Hong Kong China in contesting the women’s competition.  McRobbie added, “this year’s announcement holds extra significance as we introduce the Melrose Claymores competition. While this is a new tournament, it is also a nod to our long and proud history of showcasing the top teams in Asian sevens in Hong Kong.”

Gates open at 07:30 on Friday 5 April, with over two hours of mini and youth rugby to start the weekend before the tournament officially kicks off at 10:30 with Canada versus Japan women.  The tournament’s opening ceremony will take place between the two Hong Kong China games in the Melrose Claymores at 18:42. The final match of the day will be France versus Australia men at 20:58 with play ending at 21:30.

Saturday 6 April sees gates open from 07:00, with mini rugby games leading up to the start of play at 09:30.  At 14:09, Hong Kong China women will face Thailand in round two of the Melrose Claymores competition, followed by the famous Hong Kong Sevens March Past and some island beats from legendary reggae band, The Wailers.  At 15:11, Hong Kong China men will play Japan in their second Melrose Claymores match, followed by the start of HSBC SVSNS quarter-finals action.  Action finishes with the placing match semi-finals at 20:30. 

Sevens Sunday in Hong Kong 7 April opens at 08:00 with mini and youth showcase matches through 09:40, followed by the final round of Melrose Claymores action with China playing Thailand in the women’s bracket and Japan in the men’s.  The finals of the Melrose Claymores will be at 15:28 (women) and 15:56 (men), followed by a performance from Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda. The 3rd place finals will start at 17:10, with the women’s Cup Final kicking off at 18:13 and the men’s at 18:53.

Tickets are available via the official website at www.hksevens.com.

Over 34,000 3-day ticket packages have been sold for the Cathay / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2024 to date with the event nearing its first sell-out since the pandemic.