‘King of Sevens’ Waisale Serevi to be inducted into Rugby Hall of Fame
Waisale Serevi, the King of Sevens, will be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame tomorrow at the ground, which has brought him so much joy and at a tournament where he has been recognised as the Best-and-Fairest player on a record four occasions.
The legendary Fijian will become the first sevens player to be recognised by the International Rugby Board - Jonah Lomu is also a Hall of Famer, but he was recognised more for his 15s prowess - underlining the increasing importance the world governing body is placing on the new Olympic sport.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset will make the presentation of a Hall of Fame cap and gold pin to Serevi who will be accompanied by his wife on to the pitch at Hong Kong Stadium just before the kick-off of the pool game between Fiji and Canada (6.54pm).
Hong Kong organisers will play a 90-second video of Serevi's exploits on the big screen before the presentation.
"Serevi will accept the honour standing in front of the Fijian players. We expect the crowd to give him a standing reception for he is a player who has brought so much joy to the game of sevens," said Rod Mason, the tournament's operations manager.
Serevi made his debut at the Hong Kong Sevens in 1989. His final appearance was in 2007. In-between, he led Fiji to seven tournament wins including the World Cup crowns in 1997 and 2005.
The little master has often stated that Hong Kong is "my home-away-from-home". He will have a large number of his countrymen at the ground with Fiji Airways first Airbus flight from Nadi to Hong Kong having flown a big group of rugby supporters, including his wife, for the weekend.
Last year New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame. Many 15s players of recent vintage - Lomu, Martin Johnson, Brian Lima, Agustin Pichot, Francois Pienaar, John Smit name a few - have also been recognised for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the game.
But Serevi is the first sevens player and Fijian to be inducted under this year's theme, "Rugby - a global game".