Series pre-qualifying event – Hong Kong
From the end of the 2012/13 Series, promotion and relegation from core team status will come into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition taking place in Hong Kong and a final core team qualifier in London at the ninth and final round of the season.
The 2013 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens features 28 teams, an increase on the usual 24, and will comprise two distinct competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second competition, 12 teams – two qualifiers from each of the six regional tournaments – will compete for places at the core team qualifying final in London.
World Series – Hong Kong
In the main 16-team competition, DJ Forbes returns from injury to captain Series leaders New Zealand as they set out to take on USA, Kenya and France, who themselves make a late change with Thibault Zambelli coming into the side. Former Australia captain James Stannard also makes a welcome return for Michael O’Connor’s side as they set out to improve their 11th place in the Series standings, starting with three tough pool matches against South Africa, Argentina and Wales. Canada, currently one place above the Australians in 10th, have been forced into a late change with Jeff Hassler forced to withdraw injured, replaced by Mike Fuailefau. The Canadians line up in Pool D against hosts Hong Kong, Spain and Fiji, who recall Osea Kolinisau but begin their title defence with only three players who have played in Hong Kong before. In the fourth and final pool, Dubai champions Samoa recall match-winner Paul Perez to their line-up as they get set for three difficult matches against Scotland, England and Portugal.