The Hong Kong Sevens take place every year over a weekend in late March. Generally, the tournament kicks off on the 3rd Friday of the month, but it can be the 4th, depending on how the days fall in that particular year.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) confirm dates late in the year. The dates for the 2014 HK Rugby Sevens are the 28th-30th March.
The Hong Kong Sevens is the “jewel in the crown” of the IRB Sevens World Series. In the past, it was contested by 24 teams (six pools of four teams).
In 2013, the format changed somewhat, and 28 teams were invited to play.
The Hong Kong Sevens was split into two separate competitions. A main 16 country competition, (15 core teams and the Asian Sevens Series winner which was Hong Kong), and a 12-team pre-qualification tournament.
Only the 16 in the main competition compete for IRB series points (across all tournaments: Dubai, Tokyo etc).
The other 12 teams, are grouped into 3 pools of 4. The top two teams from each pool, plus the top two third-place teams, head to a quarterfinal round. The winners of all four matches, as well as the Asian Sevens Series winner, progress to the World Series Core Team Qualifier at the London Sevens.
If we are to be honest, the structure is a little too complex for the majority of spectators. The main thing to take away, is that there is a main competition between 16 teams, and a mechanism for other countries to progress into the top table.
Teams get 3 points for a win, 2 for a draw, 1 for a loss. If 2 teams have the same points, the head-to-head result between the teams is used to rank, and if that game was also drawn, the team with the biggest points difference comes out on top.
Knock Out Phase
16 teams compete for trophies. The top two teams in each pool fight it out in the Cup and Plate tournaments, and the rest play for the Bowl and Shield. The losers of the Cup QF drop down to the Plate tournament, and the losers of the Bowl quarterfinals drop down to the Shield tournament.