Draw made for World Series qualifier in HK
The draw has been made for the HSBC Sevens World Series core team qualifier to be played at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2014, with the hosts facing sides from Europe, Africa and Oceania.
From the 2013/14 season a two-stage promotion and relegation process comes into effect for the World Series, with promotion to core team status for the 2014/15 campaign on offer to one of the 12 teams in the competitive qualifier draw in Hong Kong.
The first of the pools features two of the strongest sides in last year's qualifying tournaments, leading European qualifiers Russia and the highest-ranked African side in the draw, Zimbabwe. They are joined in Pool E by the first of the two South American qualifiers, Chile, and Barbados, the second-ranked side from the North American and Caribbean region.
Tournament hosts Hong Kong were drawn in Pool F and face matches against the second European side, Italy, African qualifier Tunisia and the second of the Oceania qualifiers, American Samoa.
The other Asian heavyweight in the draw, Tokyo host nation Japan, starts top seed in Pool G and faces matches against Cook Islands, Uruguay and the top Caribbean nation, Trinidad & Tobago.
Draw at a glance
Pool E: Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Barbados
Pool F: Hong Kong, Italy, Tunisia, American Samoa
Pool G: Japan, Cook Islands, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago
These 12 regional qualifiers will battle for the one promotion place on offer in a competition played alongside the main 16-team World Series tournament at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The winner will take the place of the bottom-ranked of the 15 current core teams * after round nine of the World Series, the Marriott London Sevens on 10-11 May.
The new format is in line with the IRB Sevens Plan developed in partnership with the IRB's Member Unions and approved by the IRB Council and reflects the IRB's mission to deliver a pathway that ensures that all Member Unions have a transparent and merit-based opportunity to participate in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
* HSBC Sevens World Series 2013/14 core teams: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA, Wales