Fiji Army enlists for Hong Kong Tens with sevens stars Isake Katonibau and Apisai Domolailai in ranks
- Katonibau has helped Fiji win the last four Hong Kong Sevens titles, while Domolailai is a 2016 Olympic gold medallist
Fijian sevens stars Isake Katonibau and Apisai Domolailai will bring their magic to the GFI HKFC 10s in April as the Fiji Army enters the tournament for the first time.
The Fijians are expected to be among the top contenders as Biarritz Gavekal – formerly UBB Gavekal – bid for a third successive Cup title. The tournament has also been boosted by the return of three-time champions Asia-Pacific Dragons (APDs) after a year’s absence.
Katonibau has helped Fiji win the last four Hong Kong Sevens titles, but this year will captain the Army side, whose provisional squad includes 2016 Olympic gold medallist Apisai Domolailai.
Katonibau has high expectations and is looking forward to his return to the city.
“A lot of the guys have heard about the tournament and have already played in the Hong Kong Sevens. We know it’s a very high standard of rugby and we are aiming for the Cup,” he said.
Fiji Army are also the reigning champions in the International Defence Rugby Competition after beating the British Army 30-10 in the 2015 final in London, and will defend their title in Japan this year.
Jope Tuikabe, a 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens winner in Hong Kong with the likes of Waisale Serevi and Marika Vunibaka, will coach the squad, which is expected to feature many other recent and current Fiji sevens and 15s players.
The team is being sponsored by offshore law firm Mourant. Hong Kong managing partner Paul Christopher said: “This year’s tournament looks set to reach a new level in terms of the quality of teams participating. We are honoured to be sponsoring Fiji Army’s debut.”
The 34th edition of 10s will be held at Hong Kong Football Club from April 3-4, the Wednesday and Thursday before the Cathay Pacific-HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
The lineup of teams with selected highlights are: Biarritz Gavekal (Cup winners 2017, 2018), Tradition YCAC (Cup runners-up 2014, 2015, 2018), Turkish Airlines Penguins (Cup winners 2013, 2016), Asia-Pacific Dragons (Cup winners 2012, 2014-15), Mourant Fiji Army (debutants), Samurai International (Cup runners-up 2010, 2013, 2016; Plate winners 2018), A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (Plate winners 2016; Plate runners-up 2018), Projecx Waterboys (Plate semis 2016-18), Kir Club Pyrenees (Cup semis 2009; Plate winners 2017), Scottish Exiles (Cup semis 2015; Bowl winners 2018), Hunter and Boo East Africans (Bowl runners-up 2018), Classic Wallabies (Bowl semis 2017-18), Tiger Rugby (Bowl semis 2018), Natixis HKFC (Shield winners 2012, 2016, 2018), Irish Vikings (Bowl runners-up 2009, 2017; Shield winners 2010, 2013), Shanghai RFC: The Silver Dragons (Shield winners 2017).