A quarter of a century into its existence, the Hong Kong Tens is still moving forward. As the sun beat down on Hong Kong Football Club and the temperatures moved beyond the 30 degrees Celsius mark, the usual names rose to the top ahead of the serious business of today's Cup competition. Defending champions Aliens, last year's beaten finalists New Zealand Legends as well as other favoured sides such as Penguins, Borneo Eagles and Samurai all made it through to the quarter-finals of the competition with relative ease. But despite the manner in which the fancied teams progressed to the last eight, there was universal agreement that the level of rugby being played has risen from 12 months ago. 'The standard has definitely improved,' says New Zealand Legends co-coach Brendan Laney. 'It's higher than last year, although playing in this heat made it pretty tough. 'The referees have done well and the game is definitely quicker and we've seen a few more tries. I think any one of five teams can win this, so it's going to be interesting to see how they stump up in the morning.' Laney's side topped pool B and will face Australian Country Invitational in the quarter-finals after they finished in second place in pool A, two points behind the holders. Aliens coach Willie Los'e agreed with his Kiwi counterpart that the bar had been raised and that his side could not afford to be complacent. 'I'd never say we were comfortable because the level has gone up from last year,' said Los'e. 'The game is being played at a higher standard. The quality of the opponents is better. There have been a few blowouts but it's definitely improved. The opposition is better and the refereeing is better as well.' Aliens will take on pool B runners-up Wild Titans in the last eight and Los'e has already set his sights on retaining the trophy. 'I just want the guys to express themselves as best as they can,' he said. 'You learn lessons playing rugby that stay with you for the rest of your life. We're in a special place and I want the players to embrace that. 'New Zealand Legends, Penguins and Samurai are the teams who have impressed most but on day two the intensity is completely different. 'On the first day you can make mistakes and still get through but if you make one mistake on day two everything changes.' Samurai defeated Penguins in their match-up in pool C to top the group and set up a quarter-final meeting with French side KIR Club Pyrenees. Pyrenees finished in second place in pool D after they lost 17-7 to Borneo Eagles in their final group match while the Eagles will take on Penguins in their quarter-final. Laney is hoping his side can go one better than last year and win the title. 'It's always tough on the first day because the players haven't had a lot of time together and everyone's getting used to what it's like to play 10s again,' he said. 'But by the time we got to the second game, things were going well, we were putting some good phases together. The Aliens are defending champions and they're starting to look pretty ominous but the bounce of the ball can be the difference.'