As Hong Kong Stadium prepares to host the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens for the final time, there is plenty to play for at both ends of the women’s HSBC SVNS 2024 standings.

Series leaders Australia head to Hong Kong with a four-point lead over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand and an opportunity to guarantee a top-two seeding for the Grand Final in Madrid next month.


The Black Ferns Sevens, meanwhile, are the form team and begin the weekend looking to claim a third successive tournament title following back-to-back victories in Vancouver and Los Angeles.

At the bottom of the standings, the race to finish the season in the top eight – and avoid participating in the promotion-relegation tournament in Madrid – has intensified following the tour of North America.

Great Britain currently occupy eighth place but are just a point clear of Brazil in ninth, while South Africa reignited their hopes of climbing out of the bottom four by finishing sixth in Los Angeles last time out.

Terita returns for Australia

The Springbok Women’s Sevens need another big performance on their Hong Kong Sevens debut and will open their campaign with a crucial match against Ireland at 12:02 local time (GMT+8) on Friday.

With matches against Fiji – who they beat in Los Angeles last month – and Australia to come in Pool B, South Africa know they need to start with a positive result if they are to reach a second successive Cup quarter-final.

“If you win, you know you’re confident going into game two,” South Africa back Nadine Roos told World Rugby.

“When you lose you know you have to win that second game. That Fiji game would be a must-win as Australia is just on the next level.”

South Africa have never beaten Ireland in three attempts on the series, while their victory against Fiji at Dignity Health Sports Park was only their second in eight encounters.

Australia await the Springbok Women’s Sevens on Saturday (kick-off 15:35 local time) and they will hope to have taken a large step towards the quarter-finals by then.

Tim Walsh’s side have won 33 or their 34 meetings with Fijiana on the series, while the other ended in a draw, and they will then play Ireland who they have beaten 31 times in 33 attempts.

Australia arrived in Hong Kong without the injured Dominique du Toit and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea but Walsh has been able to welcome back Bienne Terita, while he could hand series debuts to Bridget Clark and Ruby Nicholas.

“It’s a welcome return to a very powerful and dangerous player in the form of Bienne Terita,” Walsh said. “Bienne adds experience, speed and a physical presence to the line-up.”

Ireland, without Eve Higgins and Béibhinn Parsons due to their involvement in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations, will hope for an upturn in form having followed up their tournament victory in Perth with ninth and eighth-place finishes in North America.

They face Australia at the end of day one (kick-off 15:35 local time) before a potentially crucial match against Fiji on Saturday (kick-off 11:02 local time).

Woodman-Wickliffe closing on try milestone

The Black Ferns Sevens closed the gap at the top of the standings significantly in North America and will begin their quest for a third successive tournament title against Great Britain on day one (kick-off 17:07 local time).

New Zealand have won all eight of their previous meetings with Great Britain by an average of 31-5 and with the most experienced squad in Hong Kong they will hope to continue that run.

Three hours later, the Black Ferns Sevens will play Brazil – who they have beaten 16 times out of 16 – before a blockbuster encounter with France on Saturday (kick-off 12:57 local time).

A repeat of the Vancouver Cup final, which New Zealand won 35-19, it could have a huge bearing on who tops Pool A at Hong Kong Stadium.

By the time that match kicks off Portia Woodman-Wickliffe could have become the first woman to score 250 series tries. The World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade has crossed the whitewash 247 times ahead of the weekend.

France, meanwhile, will want to lay down a marker with only two tournaments to play before the Grand Final in Madrid.

Les Bleues Sevens start the tournament having scored 992 tries in series history and should become only the fifth team to breach the 1,000 try barrier during the weekend.

Their Pool A campaign will start against Brazil, who they have lost to only once in 23 meetings, at 16:44 local time before they take on Great Britain at 19:47 local time.

Great Britain’s only win in the fixture came at Hong Kong Stadium 12 months ago as they edged a tense Cup quarter-final 5-0.

A repeat of that surge to the semi-finals would ease Great Britain’s relegation fears. Ciaran Beattie’s eighth-placed side arrived in Hong Kong separated from Pool A rivals Brazil in ninth by just a single point.

The teams are scheduled to meet at 12:34 local time on day two in what is a must-win match with only one more tournament to play ahead of Madrid.

Brazil reached the Cup quarter-finals in both Vancouver and Los Angeles but they have beaten Great Britain – who have welcomed back Heather Cowell and Lauren Torley for Hong Kong – only once in five meetings.

All to play for in Pool C

USA and Canada are set to renew their rivalry in Hong Kong, while Pool C rivals Japan and Spain need to find a big performance if they are to lift themselves into the top eight.

The North American rivals each finished third at their home tournament, with the USA beating Canada in the bronze final in Los Angeles last month.

Ahead of Hong Kong, the teams are separated in the standings by just two points with the Women’s Eagles Sevens one place above Canada in fourth.

With seeding all important for the Grand Final in Madrid, every point counts in Hong Kong and Singapore, which means there is much more than bragging rights on the line when the teams meet again on Saturday (kick-off 09:53 local time).

USA’s victory at Dignity Health Sports Park was their third in their last five meetings with Canada, although it is their rivals who edge the historic head-to-head with 23 victories to 16.

Jaz Gray is set to make her return from injury for USA in Hong Kong, while the uncapped Kaylen Thomas could make her series debut.

Canada, meanwhile, have welcomed back Julia Greenshields, Pamphinette Buisa, Charity Williams and Shalaya Valenzuela while test captain Sophie de Goede is included once again as they bid to reach a third successive Cup semi-final.

“There’s a lot to build on from our performances in Vancouver and Los Angeles,” Canada head coach Jack Hanratty said.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished this season, but we know that there is still huge room to grow as we look to guarantee our spot in the Grand Final in Madrid while also building to be at our best at the Paris Olympic Games.”

Having finished seventh in Vancouver, Spain were 12th in Los Angeles and Las Leonas Sevens arrived in Hong Kong bottom of the standings with 13 points, 16 adrift of Great Britain.

Japan are a place and three points better off than Spain but they are yet to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals this season.

The Sakura Sevens need that to change this weekend if they are to have any chance of overhauling South Africa, Brazil and Great Britain above them before Madrid.

It means the pair’s meeting on day two at Hong Kong Stadium (kick-off 09:30 local time) could have a huge amount riding on it for both teams. History is on Japan’s side, the Sakura Sevens winning 12 of the teams’ 19 meetings.