The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) today announced the 24 international teams taking part in the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2011.
This year the iconic Hong Kong Sevens march past will feature some south of the border flair as the Hong Kong Sevens welcomes Mexico to the fiesta.
Mexico is the first new competing team for the Hong Kong Sevens since Madagascar appeared in 2006.
Invited by the International Rugby Board to compete in Hong Kong, Mexico becomes the 49th country to compete at the Hong Kong Sevens in the 35 years since the inception of the event.
Mexico is also the first team from Central America to participate in the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens. The Hong Kong leg will be Mexico Sevens’ only participation on the IRB World Sevens Series 2010/2011.
This year’s Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens also sees the return of Spain for the first time since 1998, while Malaysia returns for the first time since 2003.
The 24-team line-up for 2011 Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens are:
The 12 core teams participating in the IRB Sevens World Series 2010/11
Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.
Seven other teams from outside the region will join the Core teams
Canada, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tonga and Zimbabwe.
China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
The inclusion of the regional teams again demonstrates the Hong Kong Sevens’ traditional role of supporting the development of Asian rugby.
“Mexico’s participation in the Hong Kong leg of this year’s Series gives them an opportunity to compete at an international level in preparation for the upcoming Rugby Sevens competition in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara later in the year,” said IRB Sevens Manager Beth Coalter.
“With twenty-four teams in Hong Kong there is a wider range of team strengths to compete against and together with Hong Kong’s renowned atmosphere, the experience will go a long way to further assist Mexico’s preparations”, added Coalter (pictured below).
Hong Kong’s unique role as the only World Series event to host 24 teams, (with correspondingly more series points on offer over the weekend), and as the home of the largest prize purse in international rugby, ensures another thrilling weekend of rugby action played before 40,000 spectators in a highly festive atmosphere.
All we can add to this report is: