Day 2 (Saturday April 7) of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is now complete, the preliminaries are over, with quarter finals, semis and finals to look forward to tomorrow.
The weather has been unseasonably cool and breezy today, although Fiji, South Africa and the United States have provided the sunshine and heat with 100 percent records in the pool stage for both of the Southern Hemisphere giants, and just a draw away from a perfect record for the ever improving Americans.
Another noticeable factor is the lack of star names, as many are saved for The Commonwealth Games in Australia, which for rugby starts right after this prized Hong Kong tournament. It’s a throwback to more than 20 years ago, to the pre-Waisele Serevi days, when it was all about the team and not their stars.
Fiji still has a powerful team, with more regular circuit players than most and they are making it count as they racked up 50 points against New Zealand in their final pool match. Never before has any team exceeded 40 points in this clash of the titans. Eroni Sau looks almost unstoppable.
The United States, with flyers Perry Baker and Carlin Isles, are growing in confidence and playmaker Folau Niua is making them tick over better each match.
South Africa are missing all their first team players, but such is their strength in depth, they are looking the real deal and will challenge.
Other notable efforts were by Spain reaching their first Cup quarter-final since 2012, and Germany and Japan going unbeaten in the Series Qualifier.
It’s a very open competition this year given the leveling of the teams, tomorrow’s quarter finals should be closely contested, whilst keeping the big crowd on the edge of their seats.
Sunday’s Quarter Final Line Up
Bowl: Samoa vs France; England vs Australia; Wales vs Russia; Canada vs South Korea.
Cup: Fiji vs Argentina; South Africa vs Spain; USA vs New Zealand; Kenya vs Scotland.
Andrew Wood is a Hong Kong sportsman and ex-rugby player