The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has welcomed the announcement of an exciting new format for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2013.
The world-famous Hong Kong Sevens has again been entrusted by the IRB to play a key role in determining the core teams on the 2013/14 World Series.
Reinforcing its customary role as the largest and most international of HSBC Sevens World Series events, Hong Kong will host a 28-team tournament in 2013 for the first time in the event's 38-year history.
Five teams advancing from a pre-qualification tournament in Hong Kong will join the three bottom-ranked core teams after round 8 of the Series in Glasgow at the London Sevens qualifier in an eight-team competition to run alongside the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Twickenham.
The top three teams emerging from that eight-team competition will be promoted to HSBC Sevens World Series core team status with the right to participate in every event on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The 12 teams in the Hong Kong Sevens 2013 pre-qualification tournament will comprise of two teams qualifying from each of six IRB regional sevens tournaments.
HKRFU Chairman Trevor Gregory said: "The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union is delighted to once again be playing such an instrumental role in the continued development of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
"We are also excited that the top three teams from HSBC Asian Sevens competition will not only have the opportunity to compete in Hong Kong but also to compete for places in the HSBC SWS qualifier in London.
"The opportunity for Hong Kong to host the pre-qualification tournament for core team status is a direct and positive reflection on the internationalism and scale of the Hong Kong Sevens and continues to reinforce the prestige of our world-famous event," added Gregory.
The new structure put in place for Hong Kong in 2013 will also help in providing a clear and transparent process for teams aiming at Olympic qualification. Rugby Sevens will make its debut as an Olympic sport at the next summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
The 2012/13 World Series kicks off in the Gold Coast, Australia on October 13-14, 2012.
The participating teams for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2013 will be announced in due course.