Blitzboks to face England in Hong Kong

Neil Powell (Gallo Images)
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The pools for round seven of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong have been drawn.

Canada Sevens winners New Zealand head Pool A and will face Samoa, France and Kenya in the April 8-10 event.

South Africa, who lost in the final in Vancouver this past weekend, await Scotland, England and Russia in Pool B, while Australia meet USA, Argentina and Portugal in Pool C.

Series leaders and defending champions Fiji will meet Wales, in a repeat of the 2013 final, Canada and Korea in Pool D.

As well as the main competition, there is also a 12-team tournament with the winner qualifying as a core team for the 2016-17 series, which was won by Russia in 2015 and Japan in 2014.

The qualifier teams are Morocco and Zimbabwe (Africa), Hong Kong and Japan (Asia), Germany and Spain (Europe), Cayman Islands and Mexico (North America), Brazil and Chile (South America) and Papua New Guinea and Tonga (Oceania).

Alongside debutants the Cayman Islands, Germany appears for the first time since 1992, and could receive an emotional boost from the recent announcement of David Hasselhoff’s appearance at this year’s tournament. Hasselhoff is highly regarded in the country where his 1989 New Year concert at the Berlin Wall was attended by hundreds of thousands of Germans.

For the 12-team qualifier draw, the teams were banded into four groups of three teams each by World Rugby, based on their performances on the series and at other international sevens events over the preceding two years.

Pool E features Zimbabwe, hosts Hong Kong, Germany and debutants the Cayman Islands. Pool F comprises Spain, Chile, Papua New Guinea and Mexico, while lining up in Pool G are Japan, Tonga, Brazil and Morocco.

“With the top 15 teams here, and the Rio Olympics just around the corner, the Hong Kong Sevens is going to be even more exciting than usual," said Hong Kong coach and former Wales sevens international Gareth Baber.

“In the Hong Kong team, it’s always our aim to get into semi-finals and finals. We did it in the qualifying for Rio against Japan but we’ve not been able to do the same at the last two Hong Kong Sevens. So that’s our ambition this time.”

Hong Kong Pools

Pool A: New Zealand, Samoa, France, Kenya
Pool B: South Africa, Scotland, England, Russia
Pool C: Australia, USA, Argentina, Portugal
Pool D: Fiji, Wales, Canada, South Korea
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