The Hong Kong Sevens, the world’s premier event of its kind, will be played this weekend at the Hong Kong Stadium. Traditionally the biggest event on the Hong Kong sporting calendar, is ready to begin this Friday with the match between Australia and Samoa.
Organized by the Hong Kong Rugby Union, this will be the 42nd edition of the tournament and over 120,000 visitors are expected to attend the event.
Fiji: The historic champions
Since the tournament's inception in 1976, Fiji have won the trophy 16 times and New Zealand are just behind with 11 titles; Australia have won five times, England four and Samoa have three.
Fiji will play their opening game against Japan on Friday at 19:54 hours local time (BST+8), while New Zealand take on Wales half an hour earlier at 19:32 hours.
South Africa out to win their first trophy
The South Africa squad are hoping to win their first ever Hong Kong Sevens title. Cecil Afrika, the country’s greatest point scorer with 1,204, returns to the tournament after suffering an injury two years ago for the Blitzbokz during the same event.
South Africa have dominated the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this season, succeeding in four out of six rounds. England is the only team to have defeated the Blitbokz in 2016-2017 - beating them three times.
World rugby’s largest cash prize
The Hong Kong Sevens is also well known for its generous cash prize – with a combined $150,000 up for grabs, the largest in any Rugby competition. The Cup Champion wins $100,000, while the runner-up takes home $25,000. Also, the two semi-finalist losers receive a prize of $12,500.
The 16 teams participating in the Hong Kong Sevens are: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, United States and Wales.
Additionally, 12 squads will be competing in the World Sevens Series Qualifier for the 2018 tournament: Chile, Germany, Guyana, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Uganda and Uruguay.
Women’s Seven Series
A two-day women’s tournament will precede the men’s contest. It will act as a qualifier for the 2017-2018 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Twelve teams have qualified for this event: Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, The inaugural match between Colombia and Papua New Guinea will be played on Thursday at 10:00 hours local time (BST+8).