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Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016

RECAP: Fiji crowned Hong Kong Sevens champions again, but it's agony for HK as they lose out to Japan

Fiji retain their title with a 21-7 win over New Zealand, while hosts HK got to the Qualifier tournament final but were beaten again by nemesis Japan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 April, 2016, 10:11am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 April, 2016, 8:52pm

FULL FIXTURES AND RESULTS

DAY 2 RECAP

 

That's it for another year folks. Here's the key takeaways:

  • Fiji win 21-7 over New Zealand, their fourth title in Hong Kong in five years
  • Stretch lead on World Series to 5 points over New Zealand
  • England win plate, Argentina bowl, Russia shield
  • Hong Kong make qualifier final but lose out narrowly to perennial nemesis Japan

Thanks for tuning in - we'll be back for the Olympics!


Some reaction from Fiji coach Ben Ryan. Fiji have made 9 finals since he took over and won all 9, says colleague Matt Scott

"It was a tight final and I thought our defence was very good," he said.

"I think we made the right decisions at the breakdown. I don't think they were ever going to stop us scoring tries.

"We just needed to stop them scoring and for the majority of the game our defence was very good."


The official dream team: 

 

Fiji definitely the best team throughout the weekend, New Zealand will rue injuries to key players including skipper Mikkelson.

The final wasn't a classic like last year's, but had more than enough Fijian flair to send the crowd home happy. 

In terms of the standings on the world series, Fiji stretch their lead to five points over NZ, six over South Africa, but they'll be far more interested in Olympic gold in Rio in August. 

For HK, it was a familiar story - agonising defeat by Japan after a brave but not-quite-good-enough display. Credit to the team though, they were excellent on Sunday.

Stay tuned for some reaction


FINAL - NEW ZEALAND 7 Fiji 21  

FT: New Zealand 7 Fiji 21

Great noise from the Fiji fans in their customary North Stand position. The hooter blows and a big cheer rings out. Fiji retain their title - and they've won four of the last five tournaments here

TRY!! New Zealand 7 Fiji 21 New Zealand come on the attack but lose it - and that's when Fiji are at their most dangerous. They attack from deep in their own half, standard snazzy offloading, and send Semi Kunatani under the posts. That's surely game over

 

New Zealand with possession, but they're being pinned in their own half by the Fijians. Next score pivotal with just under 4 minutes to go

TRY!! New Zealand 7 Fiji 14 Fiji turn up the power and pace, and start spreading it about with typical flair. It comes to sub Kitione Taliga who absolutely turns on the afterburners to eliminate NZ's defence and go under the posts

Some sparkling offloading from Fiji to get us going in the second half, but it comes to nothing amid great Kiwi defending. Sonny Bill taken off by NZ

 

HT: New Zealand 7 Fiji 7

The hooter sounds for half-time but there'll be one more play ... Fiji get possession but can't make it count. That's half-time

TRY!! New Zealand Fiji 7 Fiji storm back up the pitch, get a couple of penalties on the 5m line, and Jerry Tuwai eventually dives over

TRY!! New Zealand 7 Fiji 0 Pita Ahki gets the ball and shows some sensational sidestepping to get free. Looks like he's messed it up when he cuts back inside the last man, but it turns out he just wanted to bamboozle him again

Exciting start with both teams steaming into each other right from the off. Fiji almost through, but Kolinisau's tremendous cross-field kick is cut out

 


A bit of reaction from HK coach Gareth Baber, courtesy of Sam Agars: 

"I’m very proud of what we went through this weekend, from a position of putting in ourselves in a real hole, to get ourselves in a final and six minutes away from winning it.

"You saw as we went through this tournament we grew into the tournament, we were competitive against sides that have been there [on the World Series], like Spain."

WATCH: REACTION FROM HONG KONG


 

THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF

FT: South Africa 14 Australia 12

Aussies in straight from kick off, the ball worked out to Boyd Killingworth in the right-hand corner. Game on. John Porch has a chance to win it for Australia late on after the hooter, but his attempted grubber kick rolls out of play. Stannard then has a late penalty effort to win it but misses. Third time South Africa have finished third this season. 

HT: South Africa 14 Australia 7

First blood to South Africa after a tight opening spell as Kyle Brown busts through the line. Cecil Afrika receives it in the left corner and dives in. They quickly add a second on the break, a laser pass out to the left wing finding Siviwe Soyizwapi. He has pace, and too much for the despairing chaser John Porch. Australia get on the board at the half-time hooter though, Sam Myers going over


PLATE FINAL

Via World Rugby.org: "We're pleased with that finish. It is tough sometimes when you get knocked out in the quarters to turn it around but we've put in some good performances since then and we're really pleased with the performance of the boys. The crowd was right behind us as always and it's amazing coming out here and playing." - England skipper Tom Mitchell

FT: USA 0 England 19

Decent half without much incident of note until England score their third. What a gift - US lob their 5m lineout straight to Ruaridh McConnochie, who must surely really be Scottish, and he dives over. US have looked very good for most of this tournament - but when they haven't it's been very bad.

HT: USA 0 England 14

Straight from kick-off, England get the ball to their flier Dan Norton. Only one winner in that race as he powers over from halfway. James Rodwell then caps a magnificent move from one end of the pitch to the other - beautiful offloading, a sprayed pass to the wing, and some fancy steppin' all involved. 


Hong Kong still haven't come out to talk to the press. Must be hurtin'. This picture sums it up:

BOWL FINAL Argentina 24 Scotland 0

The mighty Scotland generously decide to let Argentina have a taste of silverware. Magnanimous, selfless, heroes. In common with everyone else in the Stadium, I wasn't paying much attention, but Estelles got 2 tries and Tuculet and Delguy the others. Roll on the mouthwatering main event final. Up next it's USA-England in the Plate final, which should be decent.


SHIELD FINAL Russia 19 Canada 14 AET

Another game that goes to extra time after Vladislav Lazarenko showed some Messi-esque dribbling skills with the ball at his feet to level in the second half. Russia win halfway through extra time as Lazarenko steams over in the corner.


A quote from Japan's hat-trick hero Lomano Lemeki courtesy of worldrugby.org

"[Qualifying for the 2016-17 World Series] means a lot. It was vital for us to go to the Olympics and be back in the world series. It was always going to be tough playing against Hong Kong in Hong Kong with the crowd behind them.

"We have showed in the four tournaments that we have played in this season, especially Vegas, that we can compete with the bigger teams, it's just doing that on a consistent basis."


 

QUALIFIER FINAL

HONG KONG 14 JAPAN 24  (read from the bottom up!)

Full time - The hooter sounds and Japan boot the ball almost right into my hands here in the media box. Same old story for Hong Kong - a brave display, but we fall just short again against our nemesis. Well done the team though. So near so far etc etc

TRY Japan It's Lemeki again, in for his hat trick. He just shrugs off a couple attempted tackles and kicks up his heels for the lines. That'll be that then. We dreamed, briefly

Two minutes to go here ... HK pinned down in their own half

Try Japan Lote Tuqiri saunters through the middle and under the posts after HK's line became increasingly ragged. Five-point game with five minutes to go

TRY!!!!! HONGONGOGNOKGKONG!! Alex McQueen with the chip kick from 20 metres out after some Fiji-style offloading from HK. Conversion will put HK in front ... and its good

Second half gets underway ... 

Half-time

TRY!! Hong Kong 7 Japan 12 BLIMEY! Yiu picks up the ball deep in his own half and shows a couple of opponents a sidestep or two and he's away, urged home by his teammates and 40,000 fans. Hong Kong have hope going into second half

TRY!! Hong Kong 0 Japan 12 Salom Yiu Kam-shing goes on a run down the right wing and appears to be taken out off the ball as he launches a chip and chase. Referee gives nothing though and Japan hit back, Lemeki getting his second right under the posts amid huge boos of disapproval

Alex McQueen gets the Hong Kong crowd to its feet with a barnstorming run down the left touchline from halfway. Did he get the ball down before being tackled? We go to the video ... No good. Boos ring out, but the right decision. Tremendous tackle

TRY!! Hong Kong 0 Japan 5 Aaargh. Japan work it out left to the powerful Lomano Lemeki and Alex McQueen just bounces off him as he pats down in the corner. Could be tricky this

Great atmosphere at a packed HK Stadium for this one. Cagey opening couple of minutes

Time for the qualifier final between HK and Japan. Can we do it? 


News that Hong Kong is not offering prize money this year. Fiji won't be happy about that. Guess that US$150k is better in David Hasselhoff's pocket?


CUP SEMIS

FT: Fiji 34 Australia 5 Aussies nick one back after the restart through James Stannard, but it looks a long way back. Kolinisau bags the fourth try with 2:30 to go after a bullocking run from the man-mountain also known as Pio Tuwai. Kitone Taliga then gets in on the act after a dazzling one-two back-and-forth offload on the halfway line. Terrific stuff from the probable champions

HT: Fiji 22 Australia 0 After that last epic between New Zealand and South Africa, you'd fancy the winner of this one to take the title. Fifty seconds for Fiji to open the scoring, Rawaca going on the rampage before the ball finds its way to Semi Kunatani in the middle and he jinks under the posts. Australia have a brief look at Fiji territory, before the islanders put on an offloading masterclass, working the ball from their right corner to the left whre Jasa Veremalua scores. Superb. Masivesi Dakuwaqa scores a third, taking a tap-kick 20 metres out and simply dropping the shoulder to eliminate the entire Aussie defence. Fiji stick on a few more after the hooter with a penalty from Ravouvou

EXTRA EXTRA TIME: New Zealand 12 South Africa 7 NZ still down to six men ... but survive. Te Tamaki back on with 4 mins to go. So many fouls in this stop-start match. New Zealand finally steam to the line on a kick-chase that South Africa only just knock out of a play. From the scrum, NZ sniff the line a couple of times before Kurt Baker kicks a beautfiul 20 metre ball into the corner which Ware takes on the full and dives over. Magnificent try to cap a scrappy game

EXTRA TIME: New Zealand 7 South Africa 7 Plenty of missed passes and dropped balls here ... no scoring with 2 to go. A double kick and chase sees Stephan Dippenaar almost in, but he opts to kick the ball over the line rather than pick it up and gives it too much. Te Tamaki is sin-binned for NZ with seconds remaining. All the players are knackered, but we're set another 5 minutes extra time

FT: New Zealand 7 South Africa 7 Silky run and offload from Sonny Bill Williams, but it comes to naught as the match continues to be tight. Sub Lewis Ormond finally goes over for the Kiwis halfway through the half after some lightning-fast passing across the width of the pitch. Super conversion from Gillies Kaka ties it up. Very scrappy game between two of the top sides this season. EXTRA TIME!!

HT: New Zealand 0 South Africa 7 First blood to South Africa, Tim Agaba snaffling a spilled ball 5 metres out and diving under the posts. No further chances in a scrappy half. Massive hit by Pita Ahki the highlight

 

WATCH: HK7s fans chat

 


FT: Kenya 0 England 33. Plate semi. Richard de Carpentier with the opener, before Dan Norton outstrips his opposite number in a 50-metre dash to a loose ball. His 200th world series try. Phil Burgess stretches the lead not long into the second half with a charging run from his own half under the posts. Oliver Lyndsay-Hague and Tom Mitchell add further scores as Kenya wilt. England-USA in the final

FT: Wales 0 USA 27. Plate semi. All US, all the way. Hat-trick for Perry Baker, two for Ben Pinkelman. Baker could have had another too, dropping the ball as he dived over the line. Pity USA never turned up against South Africa in their Cup semi - apart from that one game, they've been excellent


Can rugby be a hit in China? Alibaba (SCMP owners) seem to think so. 

Alisports CEO Zhang Dazhong signed an agreement with World Rugby chief Brett Gosper, with World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset also present writes Nazvi Careem. 

The agreement covers a 10-year deal to develop rugby in China.

Zhang said he believes in 10 years China will have a world-class team because: "We hope to have one million players in 10 years time. With one million players, it is easier to be world-class."

 

Like dressing up? Getting HAMMERED? Singing along to the musical masterpiece that is HEY BABY? Then the South Stand is the place for you

FT: Samoa 14 Scotland 19. A decent effort by the Samoans, but when the mighty Scotland are in this sort of rampaging form, there's not many teams that can live with them. Great opener from Dougie Fife, with his almost comically Scottish name, before we let Samoa have a couple to make it interesting (Tuatagaloa, Selesele). Robertson and Fife soon restored the rightful order of things with a tremendous run from about halfway that saw him dodge several defenders.

FT: France 7 Argentina 14. Decent game that, France taking the lead through powerhouse Vakawata, and Bruzzone levelling at half-time after some nice offloading. Juan Pablo Estelles with what proved the winner in the second half. Argentina playing some lovely stuff that we didn't see in the pool stage, behind-the-back offloads and all sorts

The Shield semis are complete, Canada beating Portugal 19-5. They face Russia in the final. On to the Bowl, with France taking on Argentina to big cheers and an attempt at the Marseillaise from a large contingent of Frenchers in the East Stand 


 

Here's some reaction from Hong Kong coach Gareth Baber and player Ryan Meacheam after they stormed into the Qualifier final


BREAKING - Important news coming through that the viral photo of a fella lying in a urinal trough (see below) is actually from Pavlov's Bar in Columbia South Carolina, and not the Sevens. How disappointing.

WATCH: HK7s fans draw their countries


Bjorn Again just thrilled us with a bunch of Abba covers. Why don't they play their own stuff? Bjorn's guitar wasn't plugged in, but he still sounded ok, interestingly.

Meanwhile, we're in the longeurs of the fairly meaningless Shield competition now. Russia beat South Korea 29-7 if anyone's interested

 

FT: Zimbabwe 0 Japan 22 Just the one score for Japan in the second half as they conserve their energy. They haven't conceded a point so far. I fear HK might take a battering in the final but let's see (and pray). Every time, these qualifiers seem to come down to HK v Japan, and it always ends in disappointment, most recently in the Olympic qualifiers. Perhaps today will be different ... 

The final is at 4:30. Meanwhile, there's some cheesy looking 'entertainment' starting, so it looks the ideal opportunity for me to stuff my fat face with a pie. Or two.

HT: Zimbabwe 0 Japan 17 As expected, Japan are cruising again. Looks like best HK can hope for is that Zimbabwe batter them physically a bit in the second half.


FT Hong Kong 17 Germany 7 Revenge for HK after the Germans beat them in the pool stage and the hosts are one game away from qualifying for the World Series! Still can't see them getting anything from Japan (assuming they beat Zimbabwe in the next game) but you never know ... 

TRY!! Hong Kong 17 Germany 7 Surely the winner! From a lineout on the left wing, HK work it across the pitch to Rowan Varty. He shows some nifty handiwork and sets fellow sub Ryan Meacheam away down the line. 

Quiet start to the second half ... mostly HK without creating anything

HT

TRY!! Hong Kong 12 Germany 7 After a lengthy injury delay as a Germany player is treated, HK resume with a quick kick on the 20-metre line and scrap their way over the line, Hood with his second

TRY!! Hong Kong 7 Germany 7 Germany camp out in HK territory for a while and finally make them pay with a quick tap kick, Sam Rainger going over

TRY!! Hong Kong 7 Germany 0  Hosts off to a flier! Skipper Jamie Hood dinks a little kick through the line and runs on to it under the posts

Here we go ... Hong Kong v Germany in the qualifier semi


FT: England 5 Australia 14 Stephan van der Walt doubles the lead after relentless pressure from the Aussies, snaffling the ball from a 5-metre ruck. England almost pull one back through Dan Norton o make it interesting, but a perusal of the video replay sees it not given. After non-stop pressure on the Aussie 5-metre, England finally get one back with 10 seconds to go, but it's too little too late

HT: England 0 Australia 7 Aussies almost take the lead but Dan Norton makes a brilliant cover tackle in the corner. The deadlock is finally broken with a minute to go, Cameron Clark wriggling through two defenders on the line. The rain is pelting doon again


FT: Fiji 12 Kenya 10 Fiji don't waste much time in the second half, Taliga diving over after a great shimmy and from-the-ground offload from Tuwai. Fiji almost score one of the tries of the year with some cracking offloading and a visionary kick, but tremendous Kenyan defence stops them on the line. Collins Injera then streaks up the other end, catching his own chip-and-charge. Brilliant try. The conversion puts Kenya ahead with less than 3 to go. Fiji then give away a pen near their line, and Injera stretches the lead to 5-10 with the boot. But as the clock ticks down, Fiji put a typical sweeping move together, finding Rawaca on the left wing to storm over. Big brass ones from Kolinisau to nail the winning conversion.The champions survive a big scare

HT: Fiji 0 Kenya 0 Some cracking big hits in this one, legal and not-so-legal. Fiji cheered on by hardy soaked fans in the North Stand. They camp in Kenya's 22 for most of the half. Blow for the defending champions as Ravouvou goes off with what looks like a weekend-ending injury. Fiji almost break the deadlock with a minute lefft through his replacement Taliga, but a tackle right on the line sees the wet ball squirt from his grasp.


Scotland splashdown

 

FT: US 0 South Africa 28. Continuing their country's tradition of friendly fire disasters, the US shoot themselves in the foot again, throwing another one straight to Senatla. So impressive in pool play, the States have really disappointed. A cruise for the Africans and Siyize Soyizwapi adds another at the death

HT: US 0 South Africa 14. I don't want to call myself a hero - I'll leave that to others - but I've bravely decided to return to the soaked press box. Meanwhile, the US have come out cold against South Africa in their Cup quarter, Perry Baker throwing the ball to the Blitzbokke's try machine Seabelo Senatla for the opener and Ruhan Nel adding another from a quick tap kick by Cecil Afrika


FT: New Zealand 19 Wales 7 Much better from Wales in the second half, it's all them in the opening minutes and Ben Roach is finally sent over in the right corner to level. No sooner does he, than Baker puts the Kiwis back in front, sprinting down the left touchline and sliding home. And he puts the seal on it, capping a hat trick by streaking home at the death, giving the fans a double thumbs-up celebration

HT: New Zealand 7 Wales 0 Some tremendous defending from Wales to keep the Kiwis out, but they succumb with just over two minutes to go, Kurt Baker diving under the posts from a 5-metre lineout after Gillies Kaka had a try chalked off by the video ref.

10:45am Samoa beat Canada 19-10 in the Bowl. More importantly though, here is a picture doing the rounds on social media of someone who over indulged a little last night and needed a nice place to lie down. Sheeesh

10:35am Okay. Discretion the better part of valour and all that. Have retreated to the media centre til this storm blows over. Big question now is, how will the Stadium's notoriously useless pitch hold up? I'm guessing ... not well

10:25am It is absolutely BUCKETING down now. There's about 200 people in the South Stand and they are going to be soaked. Hungover and soaked. Hopefully my computer doesn't short out here. 

Meanwhile, Argentina beat Russia 22-0 in the Bowl.


Good morning and welcome to a damp Hong Kong Stadium for the final day of the Sevens. The Amber rainstorm warning is out and if you're coming along, bring a poncho - it's going to be wet.

Underway at the moment is the Bowl competition, with France having battered Korea 43-0 in the day's opener.

The Cup gets underway at 10:58 with New Zealand v Wales, while hosts Hong Kong take on Germany in the semi-finals of the World Series Qualifier at 12:26

WATCH: Hong Kong coach Gareth Baber and his players on their impressive win over Spain

Catch up with all of the day two action at the links above, and stay tuned here for every kick of the ball on day three