Philippines draw toughest pool
The tournament draw for the Borneo Sevens, the opening event of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2012, has been announced.
The 12 participating teams were banded based on their final standings from last year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series (HSBC A7s). The tournament format features four pools of three teams each with all pool matches held on Saturday and straight knock-out matches played on Sunday.
The top four teams from last year’s HSBC A7s, Japan (Series and Borneo Champions), runners-up Hong Kong, China and the Philippines were drawn as the top seeds in the four pools.
The Philippines, who finished tied-3rd on last year’s Series, have been drawn into Pool A, alongside fellow joint-3rd finishers from last year, South Korea, creating the toughest pool on paper for this year’s Borneo Sevens. Singapore, unranked after last year’s Series, have been slotted in at 12th overall and were drawn as the third seeds in Pool A.
Pool B sees HSBC A7s 2011 runners-up Hong Kong atop another tough group with hosts Malaysia, plate runners-up last year in Borneo, and Dubai Sevens veterans the United Arab Emirates who upset Korea last year in Borneo.
Defending Borneo Sevens and HSBC Asian Sevens Series champions Japan were drawn as the top team in Pool C along with second seeds Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka.
China, under new head coach and former China sevens captain Zhang Zhiqiang top Pool D alongside a physical Kazakhstan seven and a speedy Thailand team which could make things challenging for the pool leaders.
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Festival of Rugby in Borneo includes Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens Championship, Schools Rugby and HSBC ARFU Coaching Tour
Meanwhile, the draw for the 10-team Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens Championship (Aug 31-Sep 2) was also held, as defending champions Papua New Guinea return to defend their title against eight Asian women’s teams and Australia, the reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens Women’s Champions (Dubai 2009).
Eight Asian teams are participating in 2012: Asian Sevens champions China, Asian 15s champions Kazakhstan, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and South Korea. Defending champions Papua New Guinea are also taking part along with defending women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens champions (Dubai 2009) Australia.
The rankings for the two pools of five teams each in the tournament were taken from the results of the 2011 Asian Championships in Pune, India with China ranked number one overall in Pool A and Asia’s second-ranked women’s sevens team, Kazakhstan, as the top seeds in Pool B.
Pool matches will be held on Friday (August 31) and Saturday (Sep 1) with the first round of knock-out matches taking place at the end of day on Saturday. The Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens will present an ideal hit-out ahead of the 2012 Asian Women’s Sevens Championships (again in Pune in October), which will also serve as the Asian women’s rugby sevens qualifier for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013.
The enticing combination of elite men’s and women’s sevens is rounded out this weekend in a festival of rugby at the Likas Stadium in Borneo as the HSBC ARFU Grassroots Coaching Tour returns to Malaysia with a week-long schedule of clinics for over 1,500 local youth, many of whom are new to rugby. The clinics are being run in association with the Malaysian Rugby Union and the local Department of Education. Participants from this week’s clinics will also participate in sessions held during the tournament on the Saturday of the Borneo Sevens at Likas Stadium. An U16 Schools tournament will also be held over the weekend. The Borneo Sevens/Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens Championships will be held from Friday to Sunday (Aug 31-Sep 2) at Likas Stadium. Admission to all matches is free.
For information on ARFU and the HSBC A7s, contact Sean Moore (+852 9092 8889), firstname.lastname@example.org
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