BOULDER, Colo. – The IRB announced today the pool draw for the 2013 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, round six of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Played over three days beginning on March 22, the Hong Kong Sevens is the largest round on the circuit with 28 teams. The 15 core teams and hosts Hong Kong will make up the main competition, while 12 teams will compete in a separate core team pre-qualifier. Twenty-four teams participated in the Hong Kong Sevens each year since 1984 before this year's increase to 28.
The Eagles, for a third time this season, have been drawn in a group with Series-leader New Zealand, who tops the table with 96 points. The All Blacks and Eagles were also in the same group in last year's tournament, which New Zealand lost to Fiji in the Cup Final. France and Kenya complete Pool B.
France, who sits in fifth place, defeated the Eagles in pool play at the Dubai Sevens in November, the only time the two sides have faced each other in this year's tournament. The Eagles have yet to face Kenya, sixth in the standings, who was a surprise to some to make the Cup Final at the Wellington Sevens. Kenya struggled to replicate the same success at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas from February 8-10, winning only one of five matches and losing its Shield Semifinals match.
Head Coach Alex Magleby and the Eagles are coming off of a Cup Quarterfinals appearance in Vegas, which propelled them to 13th place in the Series standings. The USA Sevens is the only other round on the circuit played over the course of three days.
The core team pre-qualifier tournament will determine four of the teams who will compete for a core team spot at the London Sevens in May. Asian champions Hong Kong will join those four and the bottom three core teams in a competition separate from the Series in London to decide who will join as a core team in the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series.
Keep up with Eagles updates as the Hong Kong Sevens draws nearer by following the official USA Rugby Twitter account (@USARugby), the USA Rugby Facebook Page and the USA Rugby website. The roster for the Hong Kong Sevens will be released in the coming weeks.
Pool Draw | Hong Kong Sevens
Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Wales
USA Eagles, France, Kenya, New Zealand
England, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland
Canada, Fiji, Hong Kong, Spain
Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Tunisia, South America 1*
Georgia, Jamaica, Japan, South America 2*
Cook Islands, Mexico, Russia, Zimbabwe
* The South American teams will be known after the CONSUR Sevens Championship in Rio de Janeiro on January 23-24