Every year Hong Kong not only plays host to a crucial round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series but also to a thrilling 12-team qualifiying tournament to determine the 15th core team for 2016-17.

This year's qualifier looks set to be as competitive as ever with the likes of Germany returning to the fold for the first time since 1992. The Cayman Islands will also make their debut, becoming the 60th nation to have competed at the Hong Kong Sevens since 1976. The 12 teams competing in the qualifier are drawn from six regions (Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Oceania, Europe).

Last year Russia won the qualifier in stunning fashion with a last-gasp try on the siren from Vladimir Ostroushko to beat Zimbabwe 22-19. Andrey Sorokin's side won all six of their matches over the three-day competition.

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POOL E: HOSTS HONG KONG WANT TO WIN ON HOME SOIL

Hong Kong, Germany, Zimbabwe and the Cayman Islands will battle it out in Pool E. Last year the hosts failed to make the semi-finals for the fourth year in a row as they lost to eventual winners Russia 24-0 in the quarter-finals. Zimbabwe will also be looking for retribution after narrowly missing out on overall victory last year, despite beating the likes of Tonga, Brazil and Spain. 

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POOL F: PAPUA NEW GUINEA AIMING HIGH

Papua New Guinea, Spain, Chile and Mexico make up Pool F in Hong Kong. Papua New Guinea reached the qualifier semi-finals in 2015, beating Tunisia, Korea and Russia in the pool stages, only to fall to eventual champions Russia 26-7. Spain showed great promise also, going unbeaten in the pool stages before being beaten 24-14 by Zimbabwe in the semi-finals. Mexico failed to grab a win last year but should have a close encounter with Chile, who last featured at the tournament in 2014. 

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POOL G: BRAZIL CHASING RESULTS ON ROAD TO RIO

Brazil, Tonga, Japan and Morocco will compete in Pool G. With rugby sevens set to make its debut at the Olympic Games, Brazil will be looking to find their feet ahead of Rio 2016 in August and build on their performances at the HSBC Canada Sevens. Last year they beat Hong Kong and Mexico in the pool stages but failed to continue their winning streak against Zimbabwe in the quarter-finals. Japan will be looking to secure their status as a core team once more after being relegated from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series last year, while Tonga will also be keen to build on their solitary victory against Guyana last year.

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