Hong Kong Sevens

Rugby bosses hail Sevens' new format

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 March, 2012, 12:00am

Rugby bosses hailed the Hong Kong Sevens' new format as a resounding success last night - and leading the chorus were its instigators, the International Rugby Board, and the guinea pig, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.

For the first time in its 37-year history the famous sevens tournament was split in two - with a 12-team world series for the elite teams such as last night's Cup winners Fiji and runners-up New Zealand - and a 12-team qualifying event for the likes of Hong Kong and Japan.

HKRFU chairman Trevor Gregory said the changes had taken Hong Kong's 'premier sporting event to a new level. We've never seen a Friday or a Saturday like we did this year. Previously there had always been an imbalance in some of the games, which is something you have to expect from a 24-team tournament. But by splitting it into two 12-team groups you address that imbalance and everyone has now realised that we have the best format.'

IRB Sevens manager Beth Coalter said it would undertake a 'thorough review' of the tournament before deciding what to do next year. 'The format in Hong Kong has been a tremendous success; all the teams and all the matches were competitive,' she said. 'We saw the best final we have seen for many years.

'We are excited to welcome three new teams to core status in 2012-13.' Hong Kong failed to become one after a heartbreaking loss to Japan.