Squads announced for Tokyo Sevens as Rugby

Dublin – Ireland, Mar 28, 2013: The final squads have been declared by all 16 head coaches for the Tokyo Sevens, round 7 of the HSBC Sevens World Series on 30-31 March, with half of the teams making at least one change from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong runners-up Wales and Series leaders New Zealand are two of the eight teams unchanged from last week’s action, while defending Tokyo Sevens champions Australia make the most changes, having lost Sean McMahon, Ben Adams and Shannon Walker to injury.

South Africa call up former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika in the place of the injured Paul Delport, while Hong Kong champions Fiji leave out the suspended Ilai Tinai.

France, Canada and Spain also replace key players. The French are without their captain Vincent Deniau, Canada make do without World Cup wing Conor Trainor and the Spanish will miss the try-scoring presence of Pedro Martin.

Tokyo action crucial to Series race

The outcome in Tokyo will have a major bearing on positions at the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series, but also on the promotion / relegation battle at the bottom.

At the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Marriott London Sevens in May, the three lowest-ranked of the current 15 core teams will have to play off for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 Series against Asian champions Hong Kong and the four teams who battled through pre-qualifying last weekend: Zimbabwe, Russia, Tonga and Georgia.

Record broadcast for Tokyo Sevens

The 2013 Tokyo Sevens is set to be broadcast live domestically and globally to more homes than ever before. As well as J-Sports hosting the coverage in Japan and broadcasting all 45 matches live, TBS – Tokyo Broadcasting System watched by 55,159,000 households nationwide in Japan – has also committed to programming on the final day, dedicating additional time to Japan’s matches and to the Cup semi-finals and final.

In all, 20 international broadcasters will carry live footage from Japan, with further broadcasters showing action delayed-live and via official highlights, meaning coverage will reach 155 countries in all.

Rugby is booming in Asia with participation having increased by 19 per cent in the last four years and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) expanding to 28 member unions. —- IRB

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