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The draws have been made for the men's and women's series qualifiers and the seventh round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong next month.
Hong Kong is set for four days of non-stop rugby in April with not only the seventh round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series taking place but also the men's and women's qualifying events for a core team place on the 2017-18 series.
The pools were announced for all three tournaments at a special draw in Hong Kong on Monday.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will take place on 7-9 April at the Hong Kong Stadium with England the top seeds after beating South Africa in the gold medal match at the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver on Sunday.
Simon Amor's team, who also won in Cape Town, will play Australia, Samoa and invitational side Korea in Pool A in Hong Kong, while South Africa, who lead the series standings after six rounds, will meet Canada, Kenya and France in Pool B.
Olympic champions Fiji will be hoping to claim their first title of the season when they return to Hong Kong, where they'll meet rivals New Zealand, Wales and Japan in Pool C.
USA will be hoping to back up their impressive performance in Vancouver when they take on Argentina, Scotland and Russia in Pool D.
The men's qualfier will run alongside the tournament in Hong Kong with 12 teams battling it out for a core team place on the series in 2017-18.
Germany and Tonga will be joined in Pool E by Jamaica and Uganda, who made many new fans with their performances in Dubai and Cape Town at the start of the season.
Hosts Hong Kong top Pool F where they will face Chile, Sri Lanka and Namibia, while Pool G features Spain, Papua New Guinea, Uruguay and Guyana.
Before all that, 12 women's teams will play for a core team place on the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2017-18. That tournament will take place at the So Kon Po Stadium on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 April, with the semi-final and final taking place on Friday at Hong Kong Stadium.
Pool A features Japan, China and the Netherlands – who have all previously played on the series – as well as Jamaica, while Pool B will see Argentina play Kenya, Belguim and hosts Hong Kong. South Africa are the top seeds in Pool C and will face Colombia, Papua New Guinea and Italy.
"The girls very are excited about this. It's a great opportunity to get on the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series," said Hong Kong women's sevens coach Anna Richards after the draw.
"There are some great teams there and it's wonderful to have 12 teams from all over the world. I'm pretty happy with our pool. We've come up short against Argentina recently, but this is really exciting."
The schedule for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be announced in due course.
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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