PREVIEW: Hong Kong Sevens

World Rugby

    05 Apr 2018     World Rugby

Making the Hong Kong event all the more competitive over four days of competition are the qualifying tournaments being staged to find the teams who will qualify to join the men's and women's Sevens series next year.


Fijian coach Gareth Baber said: "For the Fijians this is one of the biggest tournaments that exists.

"I've selected a squad to go and win both Hong Kong and the Commonwealth Games, and we're ready to compete at the highest level," he said.

Fiji share a pool with New Zealand, Russia and Samoa. New Zealand's pool games are on day one on Saturday at 12.18am against Russia, at 5.32pm against Samoa and at 9.54pm against Fiji. Quarterfinal games start at 2.58pm on Sunday.

With the Commonwealth Games team assembled in Australia, this All Blacks Sevens team will be coached by Roger Randle and Aussie McLean.

New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said it was vital to have experienced coaches lead the group at the prestigious Hong Kong event.

“We’re under no illusion that Hong Kong will present a tough challenge for this group but they have been preparing well and there is a real air of excitement about what they can achieve,” said Philp.
World Series leaders South Africa are in a pool with England, Scotland and Korea.

Another side looking to continue a recent form surge will be the United States who won the Las Vegas Sevens last month.

United States coach Mike Friday said: "The competition is as intense as ever. Ultimately it's about which team delivers on the pitch in front of an electric atmosphere. When you get the opportunity to play in Hong Kong, you grab it with both hands."

Host team Hong Kong made it to the quarterfinals last year and have been training with the Fijians in a bid to do better this year.

Captain Ben Rimene said: "We moved into the hotel yesterday and had training with Fiji last Saturday which has given us an idea of the level that's required, so we're settling in well. We've done the training so we're just fine tuning everything so we can get stuck in this Friday.

"Playing in front of a home crowd there's always going to be pressure, but we just have to take it as motivation and accept it. We know what's expected. The crowd is always supportive no matter what the results are.

"We know they want a win and we're hoping we can deliver that," he said.

The All Blacks Sevens squad for the Hong Kong Sevens is (* denotes debut):

Jordan Bunce (Waikato)
Tima Faingaanuku* (Tasman)
Rocky Khan (Auckland)
Luke Masirewa (Bay of Plenty)
Jona Nareki* (Otago)
Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman)
Amanaki Nicole* (Canterbury)
Joe Ravouvou (Auckland)
Salesi Rayasi* (Auckland)
Akuila Rokolisoa* (Counties Manukau)
Dan Schrijvers* (Wellington)
Bailey Simonsson* (Bay of Plenty)