Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU)
In the presence of Hong Kong Rugby's top brass, the official draw for the 44th annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens (5-7 April) took place at Hysan Place last night.
Both Men's and Women's squads learned who they will face in the Qualifiers, while the World Rugby Sevens Series draws were also revealed.
The former have been placed a tricky pool that includes Tonga, Zimbabwe and the Philippines, with coach Paul John relishing the challenge.
"There are a lot of good teams again this year, and we are also coming to the end of an Olympic cycle, when teams put a lot more resource into their sevens programmes," said John.
"It’s a massive year, and this tournament just keeps getting harder and harder, so it is great to be involved in it and we are looking forward to doing ourselves justice.”
On the other hand, the Women's representatives have been drawn against Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.
Iain Monaghan, who took over the coaching reins shortly before the Coral Coast Sevens in January, sees the Qualifiers as an opportunity to put Hong Kong's progress into perspective.
"The Qualifier is a great opportunity for us to benchmark ourselves against some quality teams from around the world, said Monaghan, formerly of the Scottish Rugby Union.
"At the same time, it is a real honour for us to host this tournament and to be involved in the game at this time, and this growing women’s rugby movement.”