Olympic hosts to make Hong Kong debut

(IRB.COM) Thursday 21 March 2013
 Olympic hosts to make Hong Kong debut
Brazil will be competing in the pre-core team qualifier competition in Hong Kong

Despite missing out on a place at this year's Rugby World Cup Sevens, Brazil did have cause to celebrate at the recent CONSUR Sevens championship in Rio de Janeiro.

After a 7-7 draw against Chile in the round-robin on day two of the tournament, Brazil's place as the second South American qualifier for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens was secured on points scored.

By booking their place as one of two South American qualifiers in Hong Kong from that tournament, alongside Uruguay, Brazil will be competing with 11 other sides in the core team pre-qualifier competition, which will run alongside the main World Series tournament.

The top four teams from the pre-qualifier will progress to the Marriott London Sevens in May for a chance to qualify as a core team on the 2013/14 Series, and their coach Chris Neil admits his side have high objectives.

"The boys have very high objectives which I will never try to squash," said Neil, who is also heading to Guangzhou after Hong Kong to coach the Brazilian women in the third round of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series.

"If they do the basics well and show pride and heart, anything can happen in Sevens. They are here to learn but they are very passionate and they are willing to learn. They accept everything and they listen to every word you give them. As a coach you can't ask for anything better."

Vast improvement

Brazil face pool matches with Japan, Georgia and Jamaica and Neil has been impressed with what he seen so far in the hosts of Rugby Sevens' debut at the Olympic Games in 2016.

"There is certainly a buzz now because of Rio, but I'd also say it's because of how both the men and women sides are competing," added Neil, who has taken over from Dallas Seymour in coaching the Brazilian set up.

"The women are now on the full time circuit and I looked at their stats the other day and they are incredible. They realise they can compete, as do the men, who thought they could have come higher than third at the CONSUR Sevens, so the level is there."

While there is a New Zealand influence from the likes of Seymour and Neil in the coaching team, one man who has also been benefiting from them is assistant coach Mauricio Coelho.

"The guys have a lot of experience in Rugby, and they have great concepts," said Coelho. "We are proud to be with these two guys in this operation and the players have a lot of confidence in them and are also very proud.

"We have a lot of expectation this weekend. This is the first time in Hong Kong for Brazil but we have some high objectives and I hope we can do our job."

And what impact has the Brazilian seen in Rugby Sevens in the home of the next Olympics?

"We feel that the inclusion of Sevens in Rio has had a very big impact in Brazil. It has started to appear in more clubs and a lot of the country have a lot of expectation for the Olympics. But the community of Rugby is looking in a good way at the rugby competition in Brazil."

Hong Kong Sevens

Round 6
27-29 March 2015
Venue: Hong Kong Stadium
City: Hong Kong
Capacity: 40,000

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D
  • DJ Forbes, NZ
  • Tom Mitchell of England
  • NZ win HK Sevens