Pic: World Rugby
Following a four week, well-deserved break, the HSBC World Sevens Series continues with a thrilling and tasty three-day tournament when the 16 teams meet once again at the legendary Hong Kong Sevens this weekend.
Moving on from North America to Asia, the teams are progressing towards the last four tournaments of the season. As so often this year, the Blitzboks are the top favorites, but England will arrive with plenty of confidence after winning the last tournament in Vancouver, which leaves 23 points between the two teams.
However other 7s heavyweights such as Fiji and New Zealand are desperate to secure the very first Cup trophy in a year which is all about South Africa. Both teams have dominated in the last six years. Olympic champions Fiji, currently in third place, finished top in the previous two years at Hong Kong and are determined to add another trophy to the record.
The All Blacks Sevens, Hong Kong champions in 2011 and 2014 also share many happy memories of the prestigious mega event, which is often referred as the best 7s tournament in the world. Coach Clark Laidlaw and skipper Scott Curry are facing a tough task as they go head-to-head with rivals Fiji in Pool C together with Wales and Japan.
Traditionally Hong Kong always offers plenty of upsets and sensations. It is not just a very special weekend for the current series, but also an extremely exciting opportunity for 12 teams who are battling for to become the 15th core team for the following year's series.
Last year it was Japan who made it after beating hosts Hong Kong 24-14 to secure their spot on the 2016-17 series. It will be once again a tight affair with many strong contenders for the victory.
When and Where?
The Hong Kong Sevens take place at the Hong Kong Stadium (Capacity 40,000) in So Kon Po, from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th of April. The matches kick-off on Friday at 18:00 local time (GMT +8) Saturday 11:18 local time (GMT +8) and Sunday 09:30 (GMT +8). The final is scheduled for 19:00 local time on Sunday (GMT +8).
Where Can I See It?
One to Watch
This could be a very special weekend for England’s Dan Norton who is set to become the series top scorer. Norton currently shares the record of 244 tries together with Kenya’s Collins Injera. One more try and the 29-year-old speedster from Gloucester will become a record-breaker.
However, Injera's selection for Kenya will make for exciting viewing over the three days as he and Norton go head-to-head to finish up top of the try scoring charts.
Australia, England, Samoa, South Korea
Canada, France, Kenya, South Africa
Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Wales
Argentina, Scotland, Russia, USA
World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifying 2017
Germany, Jamaica, Tonga, Uganda
Chile, Hong Kong, Namibia, Sri Lanka
Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Uruguay
DAY ONE FIXTURES (ALL TIMES ARE LOCAL TIMES / GMT +8)
Australia v Samoa – 18:00
England v South Korea – 18:22
Argentina v Scotland – 18:44
USA v Russia – 19:08
New Zealand v Wales – 19:32
Fiji v Japan – 19:54
Canada v Kenya – 20:18
South Africa v France – 20:40
Papua New Guinea v Uruguay – 12:00
Spain v Guyana – 12:22
Tonga v Uganda – 12:44
Germany v Jamaica – 13:06
Chile v Sri Lanka – 13:28
Hong Kong v Namibia – 13:50
Papua New Guinea v Guyana – 14:56
Spain v Uruguay – 15:18
Tonga v Jamaica – 15:40
Germany v Uganda – 16:04
Chile v Namibia – 16:28
Hong Kong v Sri Lanka – 16:50