NZ Seal Historic Double at Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2023
New Zealand Women and Men won a deserved historic double at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2023. The New Zealand women can now claim bragging rights to the first-ever tournament in HK while the men earned their first since 2014 – but the weekend’s plaudits are shared between so many teams and people.
Both New Zealand teams ended up undefeated all weekend and both extended their leads at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 standings. New Zealand women beat Australia in a nailbiter to claim their fifth straight cup title on HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 while NZ Men easily put away crowd favourites Fiji to win their first Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 9 years.
New Zealand Black Ferns superstar Michaela Blyde said: “We had a theme of this trip, and that was we needed to bring back the legacy of what the Black Ferns Sevens started back in 2000, winning the Hong Kong Sevens when it obviously wasn’t a World Series tournament then. We wanted to do them proud and to do that tonight in front of a massive crowd in Hong Kong is very humbling and we’re very honoured.”
Hong Kong Delivers at the 2023 Sevens
The organisers and the fans deserve a special mention – no tournament is the perfect first time back after the pandemic but there was a huge sense of relief and excitement throughout the weekend – and the atmosphere for the HK Men’s final game was electrifying as they claimed 13th place (Shield Final) beating core teams Kenya and Canada which bodes well for the HK men as they head to Singapore for the Sevens and then the Challenger Series in South Africa.
The HK Women did not manage to earn a win but the occasion was historic and not lost on the players or the crowd which were well behind them in each match.
Hong Kong co-captain Natasha Olson-Thorne told us after she had played a couple of matches in front of a home crowd: “It’s still amazing. Every time I run out there in the tunnel it gives me shivers. We were getting the possession and had the opportunities but needed to be more decisive with them.
It’s been a joy – we are so happy to be here and playing. We have a few things to work on as we prepare for the Challenger Series but playing at this level will up our game.”
Japan Men did not secure a win on the weekend and now face relegation from the Series, while the women who also were winless in Hong Kong – will stay as a core team next season.
Key Highlights – Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2023
- For the women – Australia and USA qualified for Paris 2024 Olympic Games by reaching the quarter-finals in Hong Kong – adding to the already qualified New Zealand & France.
- Hong Kong Women made their debut at the HK Sevens – with the women finishing 12th and the men winning the Shield (13th place) beating Kenya and Canada on Fina’s day.
- HK Men’s player Salom Yiu Kam-sing earns his 70th Sevens Cap – already the most capped HK player ever.
- The Spain men beating USA and Australia!
- We know Hong Kong will be hosting in 2024 – for the last time ever at the iconic stadium, before the Sevens in HK moves to the new complex at Kai Tak.
- Great Britain’s women defeat Fiji 22-19 (to earnt their first medal) and France’s men overcome Great Britain 19-17 to claim respective bronze medals.
Hunt for 2023 Olympic Rugby 7s Qualification
The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Sevens Series and Paris 2024 Olympic qualification is being hotly contested for the top four ranked teams in 2023.
The Men’s Series continues in Singapore from 8-9 April 2023, while the women’s Series breaks until their finale in Toulouse 12-14 May.
Australia Sevens player Charlotte Caslick told us before the first ever HK Sevens Women’s final (and knowing they had qualified for the 2023 Olympics): “Our group has been lucky to be part of a few history-making moments and to be part of this one is pretty special. It is really important for our girls to remember where we came from – and I guess Im that link for them between players that have come before and are now playing and I do remind them about it. It’s been great to be in Hong Kong and the crowd has been amazing – so to finally be part of the most iconic Sevens stop in the world is a huge step forward for women.”
Men’s HSBC World Sevens Series 2023
For the Men – following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated (currently Japan) while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series.
The men’s Series has seen five different winners (Australia, Samoa, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand) through the opening eight tournaments.
New Zealand has won tournaments in Sydney, Los Angeles and Hong Kong and sit atop the standings with 142 points, followed by Argentina (121 – winners in Hamilton and Vancouver), followed by Fiji with 113 points, Paris 2024 hosts France with 112 points and South Africa with 101 points.
Men’s HSBC World Sevens Series 2023
The Women’s Series has seen six tournaments, with New Zealand sitting firmly on top of the standings with 118 points having won the last five tournaments in Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong.
Australia (102) are the only other nation to have won a tournament this season in Dubai, and are 12 points ahead of USA who are on 90 points.
Heading into the final round for the women in France – only four points separate Ireland (64), Fiji (62) and Great Britain (60) in the race for the final Paris 2024 qualification spot to be decided in Toulouse.
Asian Team Results – Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2023
You can see all the results from the weekend here.
- Japan 7-38 France
- Japan 17-26 USA
- Japan 14-10 Spain
- Japan 17-26 Spain 9th place SF
Hong Kong Women
- HK 0-50 NZ
- HK 5-22 Canada
- HK 0-35 GB
- HK 10-21 Brazil 9th place SF
- Japan 5-26 USA
- Japan 0-31 USA
- Japan 7-31 Spain
- Japan 0-40 Uruguay – 9th Place QF
- Japan 12-19 Canada – 13th Place SF 1
Hong Kong Men
- HK 14-21 France
- HK 12-33 GB
- HK 14-24 Uruguay
- HK 5-22 Australia – 9th Place QF
- Hong Kong 19-10 Kenya – 13th Place SF 1
- Hong Kong 17-7 Canada – 13th Final
We have had a fantastic week in Hong Kong and have many many interviews to bring you from the past week! Thanks to HSBC Sport, HKRU, Hong Kong Sevens, HKFC, Laereus Sport and so many more for the amazing week.
2023 Rugby Tournament News
- Laureus Sport Legends Tackle Youth Mental Health.
- 2023 World Deaf Rugby 7s World Cup.
- HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens 2023.
- World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 Schedule.