Hong Kong Sevens

Hong Kong Sevens Live Blog - Day 1

Follow up-to-the minute updates from Hong Kong Stadium as the biggest sporting event of the year gets underway

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 9:43pm

Right I'm signing off folks, see you here tomorrow for Day Two. Here's a nice pic someone in the stands took:



Final thoughts? New Zealand look outstanding, team to beat. Samoa very impressive too, though England were poor. Challenge could come from Fiji too, but again they weren't tested by Hong Kong. 

Let's hope HK can get a win on the board tomorrow - buy the SCMP tomorrow morning or log back in here for all the in-depth analysis, interviews, colour, etc from Day One.


Well that's it for day one of the Hong Kong Sevens, folks, hope you enjoyed it ... take it easy tonight, there's another two days to go. 

This seems to be most retweeted tweet with #HK7s hashtag:



21:35 FT South Africa 0 Argentina 21

Juan Ignacio Brex gets another for Argentina after absolutely braindead passing from South Africa in front of their own line. Not sure who the player was, but he seemed to just chuck it blindly to his right about 20 metres, and Brex says muchas gracias. Good win for Argentina, but South Africa were really poor. 0-21

Bruzzone gets another, nice little grubber through which he pounces on. 0-14

Here's what my desk looks like #bored



Sorry for the lack of updates there, but there was literally nothing to report. First dull game of the day is the last. Fans taking the opportunity to get first at the bar down the Wanch and Lan Kwai, stadium emptying.

... though as I say that, Argentina break the deadlock, quick tap kick then pass to Nicolas Bruzzone, conversion is good 0-7


21:11 FT: New Zealand 33 France 12

Struggled to keep up with that one, New Zealand superb, France with two great tries but otherwise found it tough to cope. Gillies Kaka added another try UTP on the hooter just to rub it in after another fine move

Again France strike early, Albaladejo taking the ball from a ruck on the touchline, a little jink and over. Then he nails a tough conversion. 14-12

Mikkelson gets NZ lead back to 9 with superb skill, jinking, juking, faking passes and slicing his way completely solo UTP. Moments later, the splendidly named Belgium Tuatagaloa goes over after a good high catch from Sam Dickson to set him up 26-12

21:03 HT New Zealand 14 France 5

This should be a good un. All Blacks have been in four out of the five finals this year, winning one, and top the standings

.. But it's France who strike first, lovely quick interchange of passes between Paul Albaladejo and Jean Baptiste Mazoue from a lineout on the left, and Albaladejo guns it over the line. 0-5

Instant reply from the All Blacks, Gillies Kaka taking the game to France, dummying a pass, then releasing Ben Lam through the middle and under the sticks. 7-5

Great play again from New Zealand, first some excellent running from Tim Mikkelson to break France's lines, then Sherwin Stowers was strong to see off a tackle and release Lote Raikabula. Under the posts. From now on I'm writing UTP for that 14-5


20:51 FT Samoa 28 England 7  Samoa seemed to be playing within themselves before Tulolo Tulolo put John Brake on his backside with a stutter step and surged clear from 20 metres, again under the posts. 28-0

Both these teams have won one leg of the series (Samoa in Dubai, England in Wellington), but England have been otherwise pretty dire - have they brought that form to HK?

Some consolation for England as Sam Edgerley takes a quick penalty from Dan Norton and goes under the posts, but that was poor from the HK Stadium favourites, beaten way too easily in the tackle and generally off the pace. 28-7

20:39 HT Samoa 21 England 0 First blood to Samoa as Faatoina Autagavaia picks the ball up on the right touchline in England's half, skips one tackle, then quite literally shrugs another England player off his back and goes behind the posts. 7-0

What a move Samoa, superb offloading, Reupena Levasa to Patrick Faapale to Lio Lolo back to Levasa who scores, all in a 10m-square space near the left touchline as England tried to tackle. 14-0 

Just saw a stat with 2mins to go that England have missed 5 out of 13 tackles. Surprised they've made 8. Samoa haven't had to make 1 yet.

Samoa break again, Autagavaia slips through far too easily, right under the posts, and this is getting embarrassing for England. South Stand subdued. 21-0


Big one up now, Samoa v Engerlund. Always a home from home for English.


Nathan Hirayama's father was part of Canada's first team to take part in the Hong Kong Sevens #FactsIJustCopiedOffWikipedia



20:27 FT Canada 31 Spain 7 Nathan Hirayama takes a short pass from Hearn, kicks clear of a couple of tackles, right under the post and converts his own try. Small wonder he's third on this season's top point-scorers with 142 before tonight. That was followed by a great try from Sean Duke, also no stranger to a try this season with 110 points - super fast sprint from 60 metres out, taken down 10 metres from the line, but instantly back on his feet to dive over. Shortly afterwards, Taylor Paris bagged his second coming in from the right after great strength from Chauncey O'Toole to hold off Spain's defence. 

Canada very impressive, as they have been all season, currently in 10th place on the table, sandwiched between England and Australia, in their debut season as a core team. 


20:18 HT Canada 12 Spain 7. Battle of two of this year's newly qualified core teams. Taylor Paris gave Canada, who have been impressive this year, the lead after he picked a loose ball up in midfield and burst clear. Spain went ahead when Pedro Martin pounced on a bad fumble by Ciaran Hearn on his own 22. But Hearn atoned with a 50-metre run down the left to put Canada back in front.

Spain's Carlos Blanco is playing with some mad white face strapping-mask combo that entirely covers his head. Quite apt given his surname.


Check out England sticking the boot in:



19:56 FT WOMEN'S CUP FINAL Australia 0 Canada 29. Canada win the Cup! All Canada again in the second half. Jennifer Kish added another as Australia spent most of the half deep in their own territory, and No.3, who isn't on my teamsheet for some reason, got the fifth.

I don't know a heck of a lot about women's sevens rugby, but looking at the standings of the women's sevens series, this looks like a pretty decent upset. The next round of the series is in Guangzhou next weekend if you live in HK and can't get enough of women's sevens.

Just checked the IRB women's sevens twitter feed and they reckon Landry got a hat trick, which means I probably mistook Kish's No.7 for a No.1 twice. Apologies Ghislaine

Hong Kong's Gabriel Lee was the referee, which reminded me I interviewed her at the Sevens a couple of years ago, when she took charge of a couple of men's games. 



19:46: HT WOMEN'S CUP FINAL Australia 0 Canada 19. Entertaining game this, Canada look very impressive. Great double juke from Ashley Steacy saw her evade four Australia players to go over after just 45 seconds. Kelly Russell then showed great strength to break the line and passed back from contact to captain Jennifer Kish who went under the posts. Australia were fighting back, but lost another at the break when Ghislaine Landry got it out wide and beat the covering defender. All over for the Aussies?


19:33 FT Tonga 14 Tunisia 12. Tunisia took a 12-0 half-time lead, but Tonga crushed their hopes of an upset with a try straight from the restart then another, converted, in quick succession. Impressive from the North Africans though. The standard of the teams in the lower-tier competition has been excellent - somewhat worryingly for Hong Kong.

Also worryingly for Hong Kong, coach Dai Rees has told my colleague that Ant Haynes' injury looks like it could be serious. He went off very early against Fiji. HK just don't have the strength in depth to do without key players like Haynes, especially with that core-team qualifying competition looming in London in May. 

Meanwhile, the Mexican wave has been going around, but thankfully seems to have died out. Canada-Australia in the Women's Cup final up next. 


Tonga Tunisia are in action, but apologies to any fans of those countries, I'm nipping off for 10 minutes for a well-earned smoke break (it's a terrible habit kids). Should mention that Sione Faamao Teaupa got a hat trick for Japan in the last game, suspect he might just have some Pacific Island heritage. Back for the women's final in a few.



19:13 FT Japan 17 Brazil 10. No fairy-tale debut, as Japan raise their game in the second half. Good round of applause for Brazil though. Rugby sevens is getting bigger and bigger in Brazil because it will make its Olympics debut in Rio in 2016. 

Meanwhile, we have a poll up on our website. Who do you think is going to win the Sevens?

South Stand just about full, here's a snap I took from the press box:



19:03 HT Japan 5 Brazil 10  It's Japan against tournament debutants Brazil. Japan a try up early, but Brazil fought back through Lucas Duque. He then intercepted a Japan pass and started a move that saw Fernando Portugal go over. Brazil look pretty tidy.

Russia finished pounding the Cook Islands at 43-5 by the way. 

Meanwhile, here's a video interview my colleague @helene_fr did with that man @carlin_isles


18:49 Russia are pounding the Cook Islands 33-5

"It was a great experience, tough loss, the experience is great, but I'm obviously not happy about the loss. They're a tough side, we should have spread them a little more, if we did that we would have been fine. It was good to get a try, the atmosphere here is wild, it's the best atmosphere I've played in." - Carlin Isles, USA on his first taste of Hong Kong. 

Was surprised how small Isles is, though he's clearly solid muscle. If you haven't seen the YouTube video of him in action, you need to check this out: 



USA lost 14-17 to Kenya though, despite a try from Isles, while Wales triumphe 19-12 in a thriller against Australia, 12-0 up before two from Lewis Holland levelled it, then Cory Allen sealed the win for Wales.

I've been down pitch-side, here was the view during Wales Australia:

17:47pm FT Portugal 25 Scotland 21 Well as a Scot, that was a sore one. Scotland absolutely rubbish in first half, torn apart by clever kicking game by Portugal and hat trick for Duarte Moreira, but two converted tries in second half put them 21-20 up as the clock counted down. Then, typically, they gave away a penalty, Portugal swept it wide as the hooter sounded and Moreira went over again in the right corner for a 25-21 win. Most fun match so far, though, as a neutral. Taking a break for 10 mins now, apologies USA / Kenya fans.



17:23pm FT Fiji 36 Hong Kong 0 Hosts totally outclassed by the defending champions unfortunately, as was to be expected really. Improved performance in the second half, though you felt Fiji could have upped it any time they chose. Benito Masilevu added another with a 90-minute run down the right and under the post as HK tried in vain to get tackles in throughout the match. He added another just before full-time. Fiji quite frankly taking the p*** at times with some of their jinking footwork, dummied passes, etc.


HT Fiji 24 Hong Kong 0 Hong Kong caught out early by a quick penalty and Ilai Tinai went under the posts, then almost from kick-off they were 12-0 down when a sweeping move put Samisoni Viriviri over in the right corner. Shortly afterward Viriviri shrugged off a tackle from Alex McQueen for his second. Entire half played in HK's half. Yellow card for Osea Kolinisau should have given HK hope, but Tinai got another while Fiji were down to six men


17.02pm Uruguay 24 Taiwan 12 Kind of drifted off into a reverie during that game so excuse the lack of details (hey, there's a lot of rugby to be played here). Scorers: Berchesi, Juan Diego Ormaechea, er ... somebody for Taiwan. Second half: Agustin Ormaechea (presume they're brothers), Puig, Lu

Big cheers for Taiwan, perhaps for political reasons or am I reading too much into it? Anyway, let's not go into that here ... Next up it's FIJI v HONG KONG!


16:44pm Uruguay v Taiwan now. Just a reminder to check out the twitter list I created of players, coaches, etc here. Hashtag is #HK7s for all your tweets, message me at @jamesporteous and I'll put your best tweets up here.


I take no responsibility for the below tweet, and certainly don't agree with its content:



16.40 Georgia 27 Jamaica 17 Biggest cheer of the day so far as Joseph Shae goes over for Jamaica's first ever #HK7s try. Unfortunately that just made it 22-5, and Georgia went over shortly afterwards, Jamaicans bouncing off an unflustered Viktor Kolelishvili. Everton Richards (wonder what team his da supported?) then showed great skill to go over for Jamaica, eluding tackles on a run from midfield to make it 27-12, and Kenneth Hepburn got another right on the hooter.

Jamaica definitely not out of their depth in the lower-tier competition. Them against Brazil should be a fun game.

Hong Kong team for opener against Fiji (17.06) is in:

Kwok Ka-chun, Nick Hewson, Ant Haynes, Alex McQueen, Rowan Varty, Jamie Hood, Yiu Kam-shing.

16.29pm HT Georgia 15 Jamaica 0 Irakli Machkaneli (glad I'm doing text commentary and not speech) with the opening two tries, over in either corner. Chunky looking fella but got pace. Tedore Zibzibadze (blimey) with a third at the whistle.

Rugby Reggae Boyz (will that catch on? Probably not) are on their debut in Hong Kong. Here's an article about them. Don't look overawed by Georgia, who will be at the World Cup in Moscow in the summer.

16.20pm Zimbabwe 27 Mexico 0. Well that was pretty easy in Pool G for the Africans, who are much more experienced than Mexico. 

Tafadzwa Chitokwindo (try saying that three times fast) went over early on, then set up Daniel Hondo, before Kilvan Magunje eluded a couple of tackles and went under the post for a 15-0 half-time lead.

I, um, missed the fourth try fiddling with our live blog (top pro), but Njabulo Ndlovu (any relation to former Coventry striker Peter? Almost certainly not) got the fifth. After that, Zimbabwe eased off a bit.

Cheetahs, for that is Zimbabwe's nickname, are African champs and on their sixth visit to HK.

Spoke to Mexico's coach Simon Pierre earlier this week. Kiwi went to Mexico to visit his girlfriend for a few months, ended up coaching, five years later here he is in HK. Big ambitions to be a pro coach. 


16:00pm We're off! Zimbabwe v Mexico, Mexico on their second visit to HK.

15:55pm. Male voice choirs and dragon dancing have warmed us up. Minutes to big kick-off

15:15pm Here's the official squad lists from the IRB (.pdf warning). You can keep up to date with the results on their site here.

15:00pm One hour to kick-off. Here's the view from the media centre in the bowels of Hong Kong Stadium. Not too busy at moment as press take chance to grab a bite before the madness begins. 

The 28-team tournament is split into two sections this year: the 15 core teams plus Asian champions Hong Kong in the top section, then 12 regional qualifiers in the bottom section. The top four qualifiers from the bottom section go to London at the end of the season, where they will compete with Hong Kong and the bottom three core teams for the right to win a place as a core team and compete in every round of the HSBC World Sevens Series. Simple eh?

Hong Kong kick off their campaign at 17:06 against last year's #HK7s champions Fiji, a seriously tough ask.

Other highlights today? 20:32 Samoa v England, 20:54 New Zealand v France, 21:16 South Africa v Argentina. Debutants Jamaica and Brazil are in action at 16:22 and 18:56 against Georgia and Japan respectively.


14:30pm  It's 90 minutes to kick-off here at Hong Kong Stadium, and we'll be providing all the latest info from the ground as the Sevens gets underway. 

First game is Zimbabwe v Mexico at 16:00.

The following is a twitter feed that monitors the hashtag #HK7s, get involved and tell us your Sevens stories and leave us your comments below.



We've also created a Twitter list with over 150 players, coaches, pundits etc, which you can monitor here