- Australia (World champions)
- Brazil (South American champions)
- Canada (Winners in Dubai)
- China (Asian champions)
- England (European champions)
- Hong Kong (hosts)
- Japan (Asian no. 3)
- Netherlands (European no. 3)
- Russia (World Cup hosts, European no. 4)
- Spain (European no. 2)
- Tunisia (Africa North/West champions)
- USA (Las Vegas finalists)
France - third in Las Vegas - are also absent, still paying for 15 minutes of madness against Portugal last summer. Russia take the fourth European spot as a result.
Similarly Hong Kong have a long history but, as Japan found in Las Vegas, will struggle to match the pace and stamina of the professional teams. All of the pro sides will be in Hong Kong - the inclusion of Netherlands is a step forward, though they will probably still be without Kelly van Harskamp, ScrumQueens leading sevens players of 2011.
In fact the tournament neatly divides itself down the middle into two groups - the "possibles" who could all, in theory, have a shout at at least a semi-final place - Australia, Canada, England, Netherlands, Spain and USA - and the rest who, realistically, will have their targets set on bowls and plates.