PNG and Australia to compete at 2012 Asia-Pacific Women's Sevens
The opening event of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2012 takes place this weekend in Kota Kinabalu, alongside the Asia Pacific Women's Sevens Championship.
For the 12 participating men's teams, the Borneo Sevens is the first of three ranking events that will determine the seedings ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament for Asia.
Following on from Borneo, tournaments in Shanghai (22-23 September) and Mumbai (October 13-14) will take place ahead of the qualification tournament in Singapore on 2-3 November which will grant three teams a place in the 24-man RWC Sevens next year in Moscow.
The 12 participating men's teams in Borneo on Saturday and Sunday were banded based on last year’s standings, with the tournament featuring four pools of three.
Japan, who are the defending Borneo and Series champions top Pool C, while runners-up Hong Kong are in Pool B, with the Philippines and China, under new coach and former captain Zhang Zhiqiang, the top seeds in Pool A and D respectively.
The Philippines will tackle Korea and Singapore in Pool A, while Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates will be Hong Kong's opponents in Pool B. Japan will face Chinese Taipei and Singapore, while China tackle Kazakhstan and Thailand.
Women's teams battle for glory
The draw for the 10-team Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens Championship, an innovative tournament that combines the best of Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) teams alongside those from the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU), was also held for the tournament from Friday to Sunday.
Reigning champions Papua New Guinea return to defend their title against eight Asian women’s teams and Australia, the current Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens champions.
They are joined by Asian Sevens champions China, Asian Fifteens champions Kazakhstan, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Korea.
Papua New Guinea has been drawn in Pool A with China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Korea, while Australia face the challenges of Kazakhstan, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.
The Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens will present an ideal hit-out ahead of the 2012 Asian Women’s Sevens Championship in Pune, India, on 6-7 October, which will also serve as the region's qualifier for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.
The enticing combination of elite men’s and women’s Sevens will be a festival of rugby at the Likas Stadium.