January 21, 2014 (ISN) – Following the climax of South America’s CONSUR Sevens championship in Chile, the International Rugby Board can now announce the 12 regional teams to compete for HSBC Sevens World Series core team promotion at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens at the end of March.
Chile and Uruguay finished in the top two positions in South America’s CONSUR men’s Sevens championship and become the final two teams in the 12-team qualifier draw, to be played alongside the main 16-team World Series tournament in Hong Kong.
Chile and Uruguay join Tunisia, Zimbabwe (CAR/Africa); Hong Kong, Japan (ARFU/Asia); Italy, Russia (FIRA/Europe); American Samoa, Cook Islands (FORU/Oceania); Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago (NACRA/North American & Caribbean).
In October 2013 the IRB announced details of the new promotion / relegation structure for the HSBC Sevens World Series, with a two-stage promotion and relegation process coming into effect.
Promotion to core team status for the 2014/15 campaign will be played for in Hong Kong, where these 12 regional qualifiers will battle for the one promotion place on offer for the 2014/15 Series.
Relegation from core team status will be decided at the end of the season, with the bottom-ranked of the 15 current core teams* after round nine, the Marriott London Sevens, losing their ever-present status for the 2014/15 campaign.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “It is with great excitement that we all look forward to this giant tournament in Hong Kong, where these 12 regional qualifiers will be competing for promotion to the Series, alongside the teams they are trying to join at the highest level.
“It is very important that the opportunity exists for all of our rugby-playing nations to progress to Series core team status and this new system guarantees that a new nation will be rewarded with that opportunity in 2014/15.
“After the drama of the Hong Kong event last year, we also know that it provides even more excitement for the fans, whether in Hong Kong or following on television or online around the world.”
The IRB also joined the Hong Kong RFU in announcing that Sri Lanka, the third-ranked team in Asia, will compete alongside the current 15 core teams in the main competition in Hong Kong.
* HSBC Sevens World Series 2013/14 core teams: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA, Wales