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Wed, 17 November 2021

Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2022 Moved from April to November

(17 Nov 2021)  The Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2022 has been rescheduled from April to 4-6 November 2022, when it will serve as the opening event of next seasons HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

It is the fifth time the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has had to reschedule or cancel the sevens since the pandemics emergence in 2020, and comes in response to the continuing uncertainty surrounding travel measures facing participating teams.

It is the longest postponement to date, at a full 12 months, and the hope remains that the interim period will see continued growth in vaccination rates locally and abroad, and the opening of Hong Kongs border with China and internationally to allow the Hong Kong Sevens to mark its 45th staging without disruption and with a full complement of teams.

Wales in action vs USA during the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2019. Wales beat Team USA 19-21. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Wales in action vs USA during the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2019. Wales beat Team USA 19-21. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

It will be the first time since kicking off in 1976 that the Hong Kong Sevens will be played outside of spring.

Hong Kong will host a second event in the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series six months after Novembers return, in its customary April window, doubling the enjoyment for fans.

The HKRU has been consistent in our message that we can deliver the sevens without jeopardising the success of community health efforts which we support, but this requires a confidence that all participating teams can be allowed to travel and the ability to host the event to our own high standard, which we cannot guarantee, said HKRU Chief Executive Robbie McRobbie. Given this remains impossible to predict for April, our only remedy is to postpone to remove any uncertainty for teams, fans, and our operations financially.

McRobbie stressed the rugby communitys staunch support of local health efforts, saying, We back the governments efforts to encourage vaccination in the community, and are proud that 100% of our staff and professional athletes are fully vaccinated. We believe this remains the most effective means of opening borders safely and quickly so international business, travel and sports events can resume, and hope that this can be achieved by next November ... We understand that fans at home and abroad will be disappointed, but we appeal to their continued patience and support.

The consecutive postponements have forced the HKRU to exhaust its financial reserves after an accumulated pandemic-related loss to date of HK$200 million, and reduce headcount by more than 40%, including closing its professional players programme.

Similar effects have been felt across the sports community.

The longer that government supported M Mark international sports events are unable to be staged, the higher the risk that they disappear from their international calendars entirely, doing lasting harm to their sports and our community, and ironically leaving the city bereft of world class events just as Kai Tak Sports Park prepares to open its doors, McRobbie added.

Given the continued uncertainty regarding hosting, no tickets for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2022 have been sold.

Established in 1976 and organised annually by the Hong Kong Rugby Union, the Hong Kong Sevens is the worlds premier international sevens event, marking its 45th year in 2020. The Hong Kong Sevens has been a part of World Rugbys HSBC Sevens Series since 1999.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union is the only international rugby union to have hosted two Rugby World Cup Sevens, in 1997 and 2005.

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015, Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

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