Participating teams announced for 2018 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong

12 March 2018

Poland makes tournament debut, becomes 42nd nation to take part since 1997
Hong Kong Rugby Union to host full second day of women’s qualifier at Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2018

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) today announced the participating teams for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifiers (WRWSS) tournament in Hong Kong (5-6 April 2018).

The HKRU also announced today that all of the final day matches of the Women’s qualifier will be played in the Hong Kong Stadium as part of the opening day of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Friday, 6 April.

The first day of the tournament will be held at the So Kon Po Sports Ground, immediately across from the Stadium, on Thursday, 5 April.

In keeping with the HKRU’s commitment to supporting the development of women’s rugby in Hong Kong and around the world, the cup final has been played as part of the men’s Hong Kong Sevens since 1999, with the cup semi-finals included in last year’s tournament schedule.

Twelve international teams will take part in the qualifier with the winner earning a full spot on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in 2018, replacing the bottom-ranked side after the completion of the five-event Series in June.

The twelve teams taking part are hosts Hong Kong, China and Kazakhstan from Asia, South Africa and Kenya (Africa), Mexico (Americas North), Argentina and Brazil (Americas South), Belgium, debutants Poland and Wales (Europe), and Papua New Guinea (Oceania).

The tournament draw will be held on Monday, 12 March.

The excitement has multiplied with the announcement that all 12 teams will see the inside of the Stadium and have a chance to entertain the expected 40,000 strong crowds at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Friday 6 April.

Hong Kong’s up-and-coming phenom Chong Ka-yan commented on the chance to run out in front of a full house at the Stadium.

“Playing in the stadium means a lot to me. When I am selected for the squad, I have the opportunity to wear the Hong Kong team jersey and represent my home. It is a great chance for us to show our resilience and never-quit attitude to our supporters and thousands of international visitors at the Sevens,” said Chong.

“It’s wonderful to have this showcase of the best women’s teams playing in front of a big crowd. It’s especially great for the young girls who see this and can aspire to be playing for Hong Kong out on the Stadium pitch one day,” said Ruth Mitchell, a former player and captain for Hong Kong as well as a former Board member at the Hong Kong Rugby Union and a World Rugby Spirit of Rugby award winner.

Mitchell has been involved with the tournament since its inception in Hong Kong in 1997.

“As a player, I remember being so excited in the weeks before the tournament that I couldn’t sleep – just the prospect of running out onto that pitch I’m sure will have the girls feeling the same,” Mitchell added.

With her tournament scrumcap on, Mitchell commented on the continued growth of the Women’s Sevens in Hong Kong.

“I’m very proud that 42 national representative sides have come to play in Hong Kong over the past two decades - and that everyone tells us that they love to be a part of the tournament here.

“To be hosting the Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier for a second time is a great honour and shows that World Rugby believe we have the standard of organisation to handle it.

“It’s real progress for the tournament – it was always our aim to be one of the biggest women’s tournaments in the world and I think this gets us closer to that status,” said Mitchell.