The winners of the World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier, featuring teams from each of World Rugby’s six regions, will earn promotion to next year’s Series, replacing the bottom-ranked team after the completion of the season.
Japan were promoted last year after beating Chile in the final.
Ten of last year’s teams are returning to this year’s contest in Hong Kong with Germany, Russia and Ireland from Europe, Zimbabwe and Uganda from Africa, Jamaica from Americas North, Chile and Uruguay from Americas South, Hong Kong and Philippines from Asia, and Papua New Guinea and Tonga from Oceania.
Hong Kong were drawn in Pool E alongside Tonga, Zimbabwe and fellow Asian side Philippines.
Following the draw, Hong Kong coach Paul John said, “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. 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.”