Hong Kong Sevens Live Blog - Day 3 | South China Morning Post
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Hong Kong Sevens

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is an international seven-a-side rugby tournament held every March as part of the Sevens World Series and featuring the world’s top teams.

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HONG KONG SEVENS

Hong Kong Sevens Live Blog - Day 3

Follow all the action live from the final day of the biggest event on Hong Kong's sporting calendar

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 10:26am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 9:34pm
 

9:32pm Okay folks, I'm officially signing off. It's been great fun. Thanks to everyone who tuned in, making this the most popular article on our website today. See you next year!

PS - Don't forget to buy the SCMP tomorrow for all the insight and analysis from the Hong Kong Sevens, plus exclusive interviews looking ahead to the British and Irish Lions tour of Hong Kong and Australia with coach Warren Gatland and rugby greats Gavin Hastings and George Gregan.

Trevor Gregory, the chairman of the HKRFU, has just come down to the media centre to speak to the SCMP boys. He declares this year's HK Sevens to be the "best yet". "How do you get better than that?" he adds. Absolutely delighted with the way Hong Kong played.

He's going to a meeting tomorrow with his counterparts from the other unions, where they're going to talk about schedule etc for next year. Hong Kong would love to be the final event, the climax of the series.

Winding down here, think I'll sign off for the day in a minute. If you can't get enough Sevens, Tokyo next week is the place to be. They made the draw here for that tournament 

Kinda forgot about that possible sending-off. How different it would have been for Wales if they were up against 6.

Here's the standings after Hong Kong. Three rounds to go, seems unlikely anyone will catch New Zealand, but it seemed unlikely Fiji would come back against Wales

My colleague Alvin Sallay is hard at work writing his verdict for tomorrow's SCMP, but he's given me these quotes:

Fiji coach Alivereti Dere "They came hard at us and we were unsettled but we made a couple of changes at half time and we found our rhythm

Wales coach Paul John "I didn't think we had won it at half-time, we were up against the best side in the world and in sevens you can score three tries in three minutes, and they did."

Wales' star man Cory Allen "Great effort from the guys, this was our first time in a final and we would have loved to have won it. Just gutted"

Here's some quick reaction from the IRB sevens site:

Hat-trick hero Osea "We just said that we needed hope and we need to keep the faith, to keep on working because 10 minutes is a lot of time in Sevens.

"It is a really good feeling to go back to back here and especially to be the first team to win two Cups this season. It is really important, so we hope to continue this in Japan."

Fijian all-time great Waisale Serevi

"I feel great. It is an honor to win this Hong Kong title. It is important for Fiji. It is like winning the World Cup. It is the pinnacle of the Series."

"When I come to Hong Kong it is like I am 18, I would love to run on the field. This is where it all began and I wanted to keep playing every year."

 

Multiple Hong Kong Sevens winners, two-time World Cup Sevens winners in Hong Kong. Fiji love it here. It's all gone a bit quiet as folk trail out the stadium and come to terms with the fact that it's over for another year, and they have work tomorrow after three days on the lash. I'm going to go downstairs, maybe have a beer, and hopefully get some reaction from the winners

So the defending champions retain their title. Only the second team to win more than one leg of the series so far, having done so in the opener in Australia. That'll take them to 88 points in the standings, outright second behind the super-consistent New Zealand, on 113. They'll be tough to catch, with Tokyo, Glasgow and London to come.

Simply. Sensational. 14-0 down in the semi to the All Blacks, 19-0 down at half-time here, the Fijians do it the hard way twice. Amazing display again in the second half. Wales look stunned as well they might, that 10 minutes must have passed like a dizzying blur, interspersed with regular concussive collisions. Kolinisau the hero with a hat-trick, he'll return to ... quick google for the capitol of Fiji ... Suva a swaggering king, as well with rest of them. Immense. 

Hope you all backed my prediction, #NeverInDoubt

FINAL WALES v FIJI

FULL TIME WHAT A COMEBACK!  

Try Fiji - That man AGAIN!. Kolinisau with a delightful drop of the shoulder to kill the Wales defender, charges under the posts. Amazing game. 1min left 19-26

Wow, from a lineout on their own five metre, Fiji burst forward again, Tinai with a chip and charge, but he just can't get on the ball in the end zone

Try Fiji - Amazing, straight from restart, they're over again,  Viriviri. 19-19

Try Fiji - Kolinisau again, beating at least three despairing Welsh dives on a 50m run to go under the posts. Game. On. 14-19

Try Fiji - Islanders need an early score and they get one, working it right then left for Osea Kolinisau to get through 7-19

Second half


Halftime - 19-0 - How do Fiji recover from this? It's been all Wales. What a couple of weeks for Welsh rugby fans if they seal the win here. Would be sixth different winner in six rounds of World Series.

Try Wales - Prolonged pressure in the Fiji 22, eventually the extra man tells and it goes out to Alex Webber, dives over in the left corner. Hope none of you took my advice to put the house on Fiji 19-0

Allen at it again, steaming down the right, but this time he's caught. Pass gets to Lee Williams, who is dumped on his head by Ilai Tinai. Could have been red, it's just yellow. Fiji down to 6. Williams seems okay. Ish

Try Wales - Allen again, diving over in left corner after multiple passing move from right side. My prediction of a Fiji cakewalk isn't looking too clever 12-0

Try Wales - Great individual skill from Cory Allen, 80m+ sprint as Wales work it from their own try line to Fiji's in two passes. 7-0

Fijians shed a tear - many in fact - during their anthem. 

 

FT Kenya 5 New Zealand 36. I had an in-depth report of second half here, but the WiFi in the stadium has decided to pick worst possible moment to go t***-up. Suffice it to say NZ were good. On net through phone now, very slow but will do me best for the final which is about to start

HT Third-place playoff Kenya 5 New Zealand 12 Rocky 'II: The Wrath of' Khan gave the All Blacks and early lead but they didn't build on it. Biko Adema snaffled up a strange blind pass from Belgium Tuatagaloa on his own five-metre to make it 5-7, but as the hooter sounded, NZ stretched their lead, Sherwin Stowers breaking free on the left. New Zealand haven't finished lower than third in any leg of the series so far: 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd

Permit me one final plug for tomorrow's SCMP, last one of the day I promise, but it's worth a heads up. Next big rugby event at HK Stadium is The British and Irish Lions v Barbarians, the first match of the Lions' tour to HK and Australia. In tomorrow's paper - an exclusive interview with Lions coach Warren Gatland, where he talks about how Wales-England changed his selection plans and hints at who his captain is going to be. Also, I sit down with Gavin Hastings and George Gregan, both of whom won Lions-Australia series for their respective nations, and get their verdict on the main rugby event of the summer. </advert>

 

So the Plate finished 7-12 to Samoa. Apparently the injured guy, who was Alatasi Tupou, is "all well and good". Looked a bad one. Here's the TV commentators' dream team. Think I would have Viriviri in there myself. 68 matches down, 2 to go, now it's the third-place play-off, Kenya v NZ.

 

 

2T Plate final Canada 7 Samoa 12 Canada get back in it straight from kick off, John 'Dancing in the' Moonlight jinking his way through from the left. There's a lull in play here as a Samoa is down with what looks a bad injury.

Tomorrow's SCMP is going to be a belter - every cough and spit from the final day. Tim Noonan's columns have been provoking a lot of talking points here, and judging by the title, tomorrow's is going to be the same: 'Super Bowl of Rugby' Suffering in a Stone-age Stadium

HT Plate final Canada 0 Samoa 12 Samoa thought they had a try straight from kick-off but there was something wrong with it, missed exactly what. Game played entirely in Canada's territory, took a while for Samoa to break through but then Levi Asifa'amatala bagged two in quick succession. I have a drunk Frenchman behind me who speaks English with such a stereotypical accent I almost think he's putting it on.

Some stats for ye. HK 7 effective tackles, 4 missed tackles, tackle completion rate 63%. That's not good. 31 passes to create HK's one try, compared to 3.3 per try for England's 6. 1 out of 4 tries on visits to England's 22. England 6 out of 6. 

No shame in that Hong Kong. Pity they gifted England a couple early, second half when they put the pressure on HK really competed. Great memory for Rowan Varty though. England are full-time professionals and so much more seasoned than the hosts, HK can hold their heads high

Full time Hong Kong 7 England 42 Bowl Final

Try England - Hong Kong give it away in a last-gasp attempt to win the second half. Mat Turner steams through then decides to let Sam Edgerley have the try - and the massive boos. 7-42

Try England - Hong Kong are blowing now and a soft not-even-tackle from Gesindi lets Mike Ellery stroll 60m and under 7-35

TRY HONG KONG - Much better from HK, camped in England's 22 this half. Finally the pressure pays off and who else but captain Rowan Varty. He'll never forget that one. Massive cheers 7-28

Second half

0-28 at half-time

Try England - Poor. HK try to kick for touch, fail to find it. Then England launch a cross-field kick for fastest man in their team Dan Norton, who easily outstrips HK defenders. 0-28

Try England - Tom McQueen goes in from the side at a ruck, HK are sleeping at the resulting penalty and Brake gets his second. This is one-sided unfortunately 0-21

Try England - terrible restart from HK, England charge straight up, and captain Rob Vickerman scores. Conversion is good 0-14

Try England - Lot of early pressure England, few last ditch tackles on halfway, then HK miss one as John Brake goes through from 50m 0-7

Boos for England as teams are announced, a rare if not unprecedented event in this stadium

 

 

Minutes away from HK v England. Late change for hosts, Nick Hewson in in place of Eni Gesindi

FT Argentina 14 France 20. Pierre Lakafia scored the first of the second half but Valentin Cruz made it 14-12. Exciting finish, Julien Candelon went on a great run at the death to seal the win. France take the Shield.

Bowl Final teams:

Hong Kong: Kwok, Gesindi, Jones, Lee, Varty, Hood, T McQueen. Subs: Hewson, Haynes, Rimene, A McQueen, Yiu

England: Vickerman, Norton, Rodwell, Brake, Powell, Watson, Lewis-Pratt. Subs: Williams, Ellery, De Carpentier, Turner, Edgerley

 

This blog now the most popular article on our site. Thanks everybody! 

Just looking at Fiji-New Zealand stats. Not sure they explain how awesome Fiji were. Only missed 3 tackles to NZ's 10, that's maybe a key stat. 7.6 strike rate (passes per try). New Zealand retained none of their 3 restarts

HT Argentina 7 France 5 Shield Final Great start from France, Renaud Delmas charging up the left on a great run to huge cheers. Facundo Panceyra Garrido then intercepts a loose ball and flies home from 40 metres out to put Argentina in front with the conversion. Big boos for France as announcer asks stadium which team they're cheering for. Childish ... but amusing. France's fans all seem to be nine-year-old kids, judging by the high-pitched screams that erupt from the East Stand whenever they go on a run.

Speaking of which, here's the captains of the five teams who will take on bottom three core teams in London, including HK's Rowan Varty. Top three from those eight win core-team places for next season's series

 

FT Zimbabwe 22 Tonga 19. Zimbabwe win the pre-qualifier tournament. No easy sides for Hong Kong in London core team qualifying event in May

Good point, Wales have had easier path to the final:

 

Absolutely phenomenal second-half display from Fiji there. 14-0 down as the hooter went in the first half, New Zealand didn't get out of their own half for the rest of the game. Simply outstanding stuff, tremendous pressure, forcing All Blacks into mistakes that were mercilessly punished. I don't know if any bookies take action on the Hong Kong Sevens, but if there are, I would put a large amount on them blasting Wales to bits in the Cup final in just a little over two hours' time. 

Up now it's Zimbabwe Tonga in the wee team final. No offence, but can't get too worked up about that one after the last game.

FT Fiji 33 New Zealand 14

Second half

Try Fiji. Still time for another, a mistake from NZ, and Ulaiyasi Lawavaou makes them pay again. 33-14 final score.

Try Fiji. Tremendous run from Benito Masilevu, he's caught just short, offload is missed by Jone Vota but not Veremalua, who gets his second. Fiji immense, 40 seconds left, they are going to the final 26-14

Try Fiji. Nemani Nagusa absolutely wrecks an All Black, didn't see who, and the ball pops out of the blast radius for Jasa Veremalua, who storms home from 40 metres 21-14  

That makes it 7 tries for Viriviri so far, and he's out on his own as top scorer from a group on 5. Still time for more

Try Fiji. Fiji come storming out, winning the restart with a magnificent leap and then powering forward through multiple phases. Tap penalty on the five metre and Viriviri just bulldozes over 14-14


Try Fiji - Right back in it long after the hooter sounds. Jasa Veremalua takes it forward and plays a basketball style pass to Samisoni Viriviri, speeding up the left side. Magnificent conversion and it's game very much on. Mistake from Khan on the restart, maybe still thinking about his try. 7-14

Try NZ -  Brilliant play again. Loads of patient possession in their own half, Gillies Kaka speeds it up with a stutter step, then Tim Mikkelson gets free. Almost with the shirt being torn off his back at the five-metre, he chucks the ball over his shoulder to Rocky Khan. Superb stuff. 0-14

Enthralling as the two best sides in this year's tournament collide. Action has been mostly in New Zealand's half, but possession mostly New Zealand's. Ben Lam finally breaks the line after three mins and goes on a 60-metre dash to the the posts. Samisoni Viriviri just can't catch him in time. 0-7

 

FT Wales 19 Kenya 0 Craig Price doubles the lead after prolonged Welsh pressure. Kenya flat, weren't able to trouble Welsh at all. Don't think Wales can deal with New Zealand or Fiji in the final though, winner of the next semi takes the title I reckon. Sam Cross gets a third with a minute to go. 

Meanwhile, just noticed this blog is No.2 on our site's most popular articles today, thanks for everybody who's tuning in. Let's get it to No.1 and the sports editor might buy me a pint tonight.

 

HT Wales 7 Kenya 0 Lee Williams with the breakthrough for Wales after a tight opening. Wales' defence working it, Kenya didn't have a sniff. Still evenly matched though. Would like to see Kenya reach their second Cup final of the season, no offence Welshers

 

Canada's injured player (captain? might be wrong) has been doing some great tournament tweeting. Dunno what "We're going to the ship, whatttt!?" means right enough, trust it's not vulgar

FT Australia 5 Samoa 12. Pretty quiet second half. Eventually with just over two minutes to go Samoa collect an Aussie kick on their own 10m line on the right touchline and work it through a few passes to the left corner where Lolo Lui goes over. So it's Canada - Samoa in the Plate final at 18:05

Dennis Ombachi. He loves a hand-off. That sounds a bit rude but it's not

HT Australia 5 Samoa 7 Lovely Samoa team try for the opener, every player must have had a hand on the ball at some point as Samoa worked it up and across the pitch, Alatasi Tupou over the line. Con Foley pulled one back though, well after the hooter. 

The sun is back out and there doesn't seem to be much pollution in the air for once, lovely afternoon. #WeatherChat

 

Stadium announcer having some fun with Sebastian Coe, who is in the stadium next to HKRFU boss Trevor Gregory. Plays Gangnam Style, claims it's Coe's favourite. Coe does not do the dance on the big screen, Gregory's game for anything though. 

I interviewed Coe during the week, here's a piece I did on his views about Rugby Sevens at the Olympics. #ShamelessPlug

FT Canada 19 Portugal 14 Conor Trainor added one for Canada before a late effort from Nuno Sousa Guedes. Too late though. Canada into Plate final

Do you agree?

Some bizarre quotes from England coach from IRB's live blog. Faceless opposition? I think I know what he means, he only cares about his own team, but comes across weird

England coach Ben Ryan on why England have improved on day three: "Mindset. We didn't have it in the first two games. For the last three games the minimum standards have been there, we have suffocated teams. I'm really angry. Every time we get better I get angrier."

 

On facing Hong Kong in the Bowl final: "They're a faceless opposition, we're just trying to improve our performance to another level."

 

12-7 for Canada at half-time against Portugal. Wasn't paying very close attention, but Canada seemed much the better side before a mistake after hooter gave Frederico Oliveira one back. Sean Duke and Taylor Paris the tryscorers for Canada. Been impressed with both this weekend

Canada Portugal now in the Plate semi. The action just doesn't relent. Here's a video from the HKRFU of the players' parade and Beach Boys, see if you're in it

 

FT South Africa 14 England 26.  Nothing much happened early on ... England took over three minutes to work their way into South Africa's 22 and spread it wide to Mike Ellery to level. Then they steal the restart for captain Rob Vickerman to go over and fast as that a seven-point deficit becomes a seven-point lead. Marcus Watson seals it with a sprint to the corner from 30 metres out. England better this half

 

So it's Hong Kong England in the Bowl final, that's at 17:40

 

HT South Africa 14 England 7. Justin Geduld gives Blitzbokke the lead, kicking through the line and just managing to pounce despite Dan Norton's valiant effort to get back. Branco du Preez then seizes upon a fumble by Christian Lewis-Pratt, shakes his dreadlocks and storms over. England have been awful again but Marcus Watson breaks free with seconds to go to give them hope.

Local bias aside, that was a magnificent second half from Hong Kong. USA literally didn't get out of their own half. South Africa or England await in the final. Hong Kong - England final, what an atmosphere that'll be. Huge cheers for Hong Kong after their win.

 

FULL-TIME HONG KONG 20 USA 12 - Hong Kong are in the Bowl final. Superb performance

 

TRY HONG KOOOOOOOOONG! HK patient, probing, finally spread it out left and the big man Kwok Ka-chun charges over. Conversion missed etc. 2:30 left. Can HK get another? Been camped in USA's half 20-12

TRY HONG KOOOONG! HK have all the possession since kick-off, work it up to the five-metre line, quick tap penalty, spread it wide right, and McQueen kicks clear of a tackle for his hat trick. Conversion missed again though. Could have used those extras. Still seriously tight. 15-12

Second half underway. Let's do this Hong Kong 

Half-time

Try USA. Absolutely brilliant run from Zach Test, diagonal from the left touchline in his own half, must have been 80 60? metres shimmying and shaking, leaving HK defenders in his wake. Conversion is good to give US narrow half-time lead 10-12

TRY HONG KONG Two in quick succession for McQueen. HK drive forward then work it wide through Varty and he finds McQueen surging up the right touchline. 10-5

TRY HONG KONG McQueen makes up for it immediately, but he has Rowan Varty to thank, magnificent 60-metre run down the left touchline, heel clipped on the 22, but immediately back up and offloads to McQueen just short of the try line. Conversion wide. 5-5

Try USA. Terrible try to give away. Tom McQueen taken down on HK five-metre line, and his poor offload sets up Mike Palefau. 0-5

 

All over and France beat Spain 28-0 to go to Shield final against Argentina. Next up it's HK in the Bowl semis. Interesting Eni Gesindi dropped, thought he was poor yesterday. Carlin Isles not starting for US too, he's been a disappointment on his HK debut. Matt Hawkins dangerous for the Yanks.

 

France are beating Spain 21-0 in the Shield semi, but more importantly, the Hong Kong - USA teams are in:

Hong Kong: Kwok Ka-chun, Nick Hewson, Lee Jones, Alex McQueen, Rowan Varty, Jamie Hood, Tom McQueen. Subs: Eni Gesindi, Ant Haynes, Ben Rimene, Cado Lee, Yiu Kam-shing.

USA: Nick Edwards, Andrew Durutalo, Shalom Suniula, Zach Test, Matt Hawkins, Folau Niua, Mike Palefau. Subs: Carlin Isles, Jack Halalilo, Luke Hume Brett Thompson, Colin Hawley

Ha, I'm noticing a lot of spam tweets are coming in now with the #HK7s hashtag. Guess that's a compliment in a way, as the spambots have noticed its popularity.

2:27pm Half-time and France are up 7-0 on Spain, have been much the better team though. Jean Baptiste Mazoue thought he had given France the lead with a great run into the corner, but not given after lengthy deliberation (are deliberations ever not 'lengthy'? I'm just leaving the cliche there). Paul Albaladejo did give them the lead with a similar break from midfield.

Starting to rain here, South Stand is  going to get even more bedraggled. 

In other news, I picked the wrong seat in the press box to have a sore head in today. Noisy kids enjoying themself right at ear level

 

 

Constellation score? 

 

 

2:15pm FT Argentina 12 Scotland 5. Pretty non-eventful second half, Scotland pulling one back at the hooter. Argentina get to the Shield final, Scotland just git tae. Scots pretty rubbish today after decent displays yesterday. 

2:01pm Aaaand we're back. Have just been reading our Sevens tabloid, cracking stuff in there. Good pieces in main Sports section too, try to get a copy of the Sunday Morning Post if you can. 

Anyway, that's enough self-congratulation. Back on the pitch, Scotland are currently losing 12-0 to Argentina in the Shield. Guess that officially means Hong Kong are better at Scotland.

Meanwhile, in the pre-qualifier semis, it was: 

  • Tonga 19 Georgia 7
  • Russia 5 Zimbabwe 19

So Tonga-Zimbabwe in the final. Should be a good game.

 

 

1:12pm FT New Zealand 21 Samoa 14 Quiet opening but with 3 minutes left Lio Lolo holds the ball up well in the tackle and offloads to Meki Magele to go over. Excellent conversion levels it. Sickener for Samoa though, as New Zealand carve them open with a beautiful flowing move and Luke Masirewa does a huge dive under the posts as the hooter sounds. Sore one for Samoa, New Zealand will have to improve to beat Fiji.

Okay, so the Cup semis look like this: 

  • Wales - Kenya
  • Fiji - New Zealand

And the Plate is:

  • Canada - Portugal
  • Australia - Samoa

I'm off for some lunch. Here's a piece I did at a round-table discussion on future of rugby sevens for you to read while I'm gone. I will be asking questions on it, so pay attention. 

Don't forget you can tweet me @jamesporteous or email me james.porteous@scmp.com to get involved on the blog. 

I'd like to include some of the best tweets with the #HK7s hashtag, but it's literally all Kenyan rugby fans. Remarkable how popular the game seems to have become there, helped by the superb form of their team this season.

HT New Zealand 14 Samoa 7 Kiwis keep possession for over a minute from kick-off before Tim Mikkelson gets bored and skins a couple of people on a 40-metre run. The 100th try of his World Series career. Samoa finally get their hands on the ball after three minutes, keep it for a while without really doing anything, then New Zealand break from end to end and Gillies Kaka finishes off. It was pretty comfortable for All Blacks until the hooter, when Alatasi Tupou's fine pass found Faatoina Autagavaia charging up the right-hand side. Game on.

FT Fiji 29 Australia 5 Cameron Clark gave Australia some hope with an early counter, but that was soon snuffed out as Sakiusa Gavidi Vatuinaruku and Jone Vota powered over. Aussies simply no answer to the islanders' pace and skill. They're likely winners for me, though New Zealand will have something to say about that. They take on Samoa now.

HT Fiji 17 Australia 0 Fiji come storming out, waste chance to score in left corner but recycle it right and Samson Viriviri powers under the posts. His fifth of the tournament, level at top with Matt Hawkins and Duarte Moreira. Nemani Nagusa adds the second after more great play from Fiji, kicking out of a couple of tackles. Jasa Veremalua adds a third on the hooter. They are definitely the best team to watch, and Australia haven't had a sniff. 

 

FT Portugal 12 Kenya 15 Portugal levelled early, then it was all Kenya, but they couldn't get over, couple of match saving tackles from Portugal. Late sickener for them though, as Kenya get a penalty after the hooter and Biko Adema converts from the 22 to send them to the Cup semis.

HT Portugal 7 Kenya 12 Duarte Moreira goes over in the right corner, pouncing on an excellent diagonal kick. Portugal's kicking game is superb, as Scotland found to their cost - players brought up on soccer perhaps? Kenya haven't offered much, but Big Willy Ambaka intercepts a tap-kick in Portugal's 22 and goes over to level. Dennis Ombachi gives Kenya the lead on half-time with a big hand-off on Francisco Vieira de Almeida. Mexican wave goes round the stadium to everybody's delight. Except mine.

 

 

And here's our graphic of all today's fixtures

 

Alvin Sallay's assessment of Hong Kong's performances here

 

FT Wales 28 Canada 14. Early effort from Wales, Alex Williams charging up on Lee Williams' right and taking the pass as Canada looked on. Straight from the restart Cory Allen extends the lead, diving over in the right corner. Good performance from Wales and they're into the semis.

 

11:58am HT Wales 14 Canada 14 We are into the Cup Quarter-finals. Good game this. Canada have taken the lead twice, through Nathan Hirayama and John Moonlight, but Craig Price and Adam Thomas levelled. In other news, I am in no damn mood to listen to LMFAO, or whatever it is, before noon on a Sunday. Or ever.

 

Here's a video my colleague Helene Franchineau made at the Sevens 

 

FT France 0 England 35 England pick up where they left off, Norton taking the ball from Brake from a ruck, poking a kick between France's line and running onto it himself. Stephen Parez then pulled one back after a good passing move, felt like the first time France got into England's half. Mike Ellery added a late on for England as France Gallic shrugged their way into the Shield.

So the Bowl semis are:

  • Hong Kong - USA
  • South Africa - England

And the Shield is 

  • Argentina - Scotland
  • Spain - France

Here's highlights of Day Two:

 

HT France 0 England 28 Marcus Watson drives under for England first, great sidestep, then John Brake takes a quick tap kick and charges up the middle from 30m out. Brake gets another after jiggery-pokery from Watson takes him past about four France players before he offloads. Dan Norton then kicks a missed France pass forward, picks up and drives over. Bit of a pounding this for Les Bleus.

South Stand still half-empty, was packed at 9.20 yesterday.  Fair few folk still in the blissful embrace of an alcoholic stupor, you suspect. Wish I was.

 

The official tournament live blog has some quotes from Hong Kong captain Rowan Varty, which I am shamelessly going to cut and paste:

"I feel sorry for all the other teams in Hong Kong because the crowd is unbelieveable, they really get behind us and it must be a nightmare to play against.

"We watched the guys go through this morning [in the London pre-qualifier event in which Hong Kong will compete], but the other teams coming through are all really strong teams. We know first hand that Zimbabwe are a very strong team. Russia are very strong so we need all the confidence we can get. The series is the goal."

 

11:25am FT Spain 14 South Africa 28. A hat trick for Cornell Hendricks. South Africa into the Bowl semis, where they will play the winners of the next game, France-England. Spain scored a try in each half and I missed both, lo siento. Philip Snyman went over after the hooter to seal the win for the Blitzbokke as Spain looked in danger of mounting a comeback.

Trying to get caught up with what I missed this morning. Here's the results from the pre-qualifier QFs. All the winners get a ticket to the final qualifying competition in London where they will compete against Hong Kong and the bottom three core teams for three core places next season. Not sure if it matters if you actually win this pre-qualifying tournament, maybe it gives you a better draw in the final qualifiers. 

 

  • Japan  0 - 17   Georgia
  • Tonga  12 - 5   Tunisia
  • Zimbabwe  21 - 7  Brazil
  • Russia  26 - 12    Uruguay

As I predicted the 'big' teams all won - except Japan. That's a big upset for Georgia. So in London, Hong Kong will be up against Georgia, Tonga, Zimbabwe, Russia and the three bottom core teams, who at the moment are Spain, Portugal and the US. Portugal will go up the standings after their good performance here though. Hong Kong have shown here they can compete with Spain, and we'll see later today how they fare against the US.

FT Scotland 12 USA 21 Bah humbug. Better effort from Scotland, but only after they gifted USA a third try immediately on the restart, to Nick Edwards, Chris Dean and AN Other replied, but it was too much a deficit to make up. Hong Kong will face USA in the Bowl semis

 

HT Scotland 0 USA 14 Matt Hawkins over early on, and again well after the hooter, and it looks like HK will be facing the US in the Bowl semi-final. It's been all USA, Scotland barely out of their own 22, let alone their own half

FT Argentina 5 Hong Kong 7 HK hold out against unrelenting pressure from Argentina for a superb win! That is a great result from Hong Kong and they are in the Bowl semi-final.

HT Argentina 5 Hong Kong 7 Hong Kong are underway in the Bowl and have gone in front against Argentina after an early concession, Salom Yiu Kam-shing showing great pace to go over and making an excellent conversion. 

I'll update you with the qualifying competition scores ... as soon as I find out what they were.

 

Hey folks we're in place at Hong Kong Stadium - slightly late - and like 75% of the people here we're suffering from lack of sleep and too much alcohol consumption. Stay with us as we try to make sense of the last day of the Sevens.

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