PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 November, 2002, 12:00am

Hong Kong has won the right to host the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2005. The International Rugby Board (IRB) announced yesterday that the fourth World Cup Sevens would be staged in the SAR.

'We are absolutely delighted that we will host the next tournament. It is wonderful to see the World Cup Sevens return to Hong Kong again and this cements our position as the leading sevens tournament in the world,' said John Molloy, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) chairman.

According to Molloy, a decision has still not been taken whether the Hong Kong Sevens will go ahead in 2005. When Hong Kong hosted the second World Cup Sevens in March 1997, the Hong Kong Sevens was shelved that year.

'We have not decided as yet what we will do. Whether we follow the 1997 example or go ahead and host two tournaments. It is still early days and we will have to look into all this and set the dates for the World Cup Sevens,' said Molloy.

The HKRFU approached the IRB in June this year with the idea of having the four-yearly event return to the city that hosts the ever-popular Hong Kong Sevens. 'As far as I know, another two or three countries were interested in hosting the 2005 event. The fact that the IRB has awarded it to us is a clear indication that the IRB considers the Hong Kong Sevens as the best sevens tournament in the world,' said Molloy.

As a result of hosting the 2005 event, Hong Kong will not have to qualify for the 24-team tournament. New Zealand are the current champions having won the 2001 tournament in Mar del Plata, Argentina.